Once again, I was sure the show was running long. And yet again, the resulting podcast is just under an hour. I guess I underestimate just how much ends up on the cutting room floor. Between segments Paul and I frequently stop and talk about what topic we want to jump to next. Or we pause while one of us looks up something on Google.
In my mind, these take only a few seconds. But apparently we spend five to ten minutes on this sort of stuff. Weird.
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.
Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
00:00 Leah’s Mojang Migration
It can be done!
02:17 Shamus Fixed his email
I’m still working my way through the backlog.
04:46 Sending request to Facebook.com
According to Linkedin, Facebook currently employs approximately 8850 software developers. And yet… when was the last time you saw a new feature? Those coders must spend at least some of the day coding. Where is the output of those 8k+ people going? What does their code DO? And how much of it needs to exist at all?
07:11 Oli Oli World
They added characters. And a story. And lore. And I have no idea why.
12:18 The Captain
21:23 Coding is very hard now
Alas. Hopefully things turn around soon.
27:42 Mailbag: Which Minecraft is Best
I hope you’re doing well! Recently, I exposed the joys of PC gaming to my 5 y/o sister. Up until that point she’d only played mobile games, and while there are some good ones out there, most of them are… well… mobile games.
On the PC we mostly play story games, but I know that she also likes watching Minecraft Let’s Plays. Which is why I want to show her how to play Minecraft.
But I’ve never played it myself, so I was wondering – which version of Minecraft should I get – the Java version or the Microsoft store version? E.g. I know that the Java version is free, and has all the mods. What’s the Microsoft version got going for it?
Anyways, take care, and keep being awesome,
32:29 Mailbag: Waiting for Windows (NICK)
I admit I have no comprehension of program or operating system design. Despite this, I find it hard to comprehend why – in the year 2022 – I still find myself in the same dumb situation I found myself in during the 1990’s, where I would double click on an executable, and then must wait some arbitrary period from 5 to 30 seconds, waiting for any kind of response.
During those fleeting seconds my mind can play cruel games with my heart:
“are you sure you double clicked correctly? The computer might not have registered your input, and now you could be wasting time waiting for a program that will never start”.
But then, of course, if you were to double click again, you might risk opening the same program twice, simultaneously.
Even if modern technology did still require such extensive start-up times, couldn’t there at least be some basic signal from Windows to tell you that your computer is in fact doing something… anything?!
As I have no experience with Linux or Mac, do those platforms handle this problem any better?
42:55 Mailbag: Weird West
Firstly, hope you guys are doing well. Have you seen Weird West by Devolver? I was tempted to get it, but it’s so outside of my usual wheelhouse when it comes to games that I didn’t know what to think.
45:17 Mailbag: Quicker Quitting (NICK)
TL:DR “Many gamers have busy lives where they may be required to drop what they are doing at a moment’s notice, to do something else unexpected (e.g. parents of young children). Yet many games still seem to lack a reliable way to quickly save and exit a gameplay session. Not being able to pause or re-watch a critical cutscene can also be frustrating. Could this be considered as a “quality of life” oversight?”
I’m sure you don’t remember when you answered my Diecast question in Episode 301 regarding my wife and I considering parenthood. Either way, your advice must have been good, because our son is due to be born later this month!
Whilst I am sure I have no idea what I have gotten myself in for, at the very least I am sure that if I still find the time to play videogames, then they ought to be the sort of games that can be paused or exited at a moments notice, when real life requires my attention. Which is why I am surprised that so many games these days do not seem to have a reliable way to quickly save and quit a gameplay session. I get that this would not be feasible for all games (online multiplayer being an obvious example), but even many single player games seem to dictate special circumstances for when and where you are allowed to save and quit.
If the rationale is that being able to save anywhere may result in an unfair advantage for the player (e.g. temptation to use “save-scumming” tactics), then my rebuttal would be that I have played games with an “ironman mode” like X-Com Enemy Unknown, where the game is perpetually saving your progress, but only allows you to load the most recent save.
As a side note, as much as we hate it when cutscenes are unskippable, I find it even more ridiculous when they cannot be paused or watched again later. Don’t game designers realise that some people may need to step away from their game quickly and at a moment’s notice?
48:17 Mailbag: Cover Systems in Shooters
Do you think cover systems ruined shooters? (Not trying to be dramatic, so feel free to interpret however severely you feel is appropriate.) Or elsewise detracted from the storytelling or experience of a narrative-driven game?
The Best of 2018
I called 2018 "The Year of Good News". Here is a list of the games I thought were interesting or worth talking about that year.
The Middle Ages
Would you have survived in the middle ages?
Silent Hill Origins
Here is a long look at a game that tries to live up to a big legacy and fails hilariously.
The Best of 2015
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2015.
So what happens when a SOFTWARE engineer tries to review hardware? This. This happens.
91 thoughts on “Diecast #378: Email Madness”
The microsoft version or “Bedrock Edition” as it’s officially called has way smoother performance and framerate than the Java edition, which wasn’t that much of a problem for that version at first but after Update Aquatic, the game on PC started having more performance issues.
Also I think multiplayer is easier to setup and there’s even crossplay too so you can play with your friends across multiple gadgets with Bedrock Edition while Java Edition is just limited to the PC.
I thought Shamus would be more enthusiastic about Weird West, seeing how it’s developed by a few of the developers of Prey 2017 and it labels itself as an immersive sim. But yeah, I was also put off by some of the initial reviews. Also, I have no money right now to spend in games anwyay… (says after buying 5 or 6 games more this month).
I already ranted about this whole deal with games that won’t let you pause. I maintain it’s a very stupid thing to do and takes no difficulty from a game whatsoever. Someone tried to argue with me about this last time, claiming that pausing made it easier to take some split-second decisions, but that assumes a perfect pause that still shows you the game and not an in-game menu or a blank screen. And screw it, if your game’s difficulty depends on the player’s ability to pause you’re a crappy developer.
You don’t want people save-scumming? Fine, at the very least include a “Save and quit” option to avoid that. But since we’re on the subject… why not let people save scum if they want to? Give people more options. The “git gud” crowd has no grounds to stand on about the removal of quality of life features. If you want a harder experience then don’t use them and let people who either want something more relaxed or have to deal with responsibilities have their fun too. Why does it matter to you how people enjoy a game as long as they’re doing it and no one else’s experience is harmed by it?
I don’t know who I despise more, the developers who get angry at people enjoying the game in unintended ways or the elitist gamers who do it. Meanwhile, there are developers who go out of their way to reproduce glitches when remaking a game just because people enjoyed them so much the first time around, and they have all my respect.
My favourite example of reproducing glitches is Tribes skiing. In Starsiege Tribes you could gain a sizeable speed boost from repeatedly jumping while running downhill and it became an iconic part of the way you moved around.
Come Tribes 2 the developers not only kept the behaviour in, but also made it so you jumped continuously when holding down the jump button, mimicking the most popular script for Tribes 1.
I recently moved away from my standard games (TBS of one kind or another) and decided to try Call of Cthulhu; I like the mythos, an investigative game seemed like a nice change, and it was on sale.
It uses auto-save. The auto-save, as far as I can see, saves on some kind of plot advancement checkpoint system, but you can do quite a lot of running around and talking to people without “advancing the plot” as far as the checkpoints are concerned, so at least once I had to quit on short notice, and on restart discovered I had to redo a few conversations and exploration bits.
I don’t think I’ve played it since.
Well, that’s just a shitty save system, certainly not what I advocated for. Hitman Absolution did something similar, and it was irritating too.
I think I was there for the argument you reference, and there was more to it than just “pausing makes it easier to take split-second decisions.” It’s kind of beside the point, but it is very frustrating for you to minimize the opinions of others because you don’t agree with them. You hold as a central conceit that anyone who disagrees with you is a troll who is only interested in excluding you for the sake of exclusion–whether or not they’re making a good faith argument or are just a troll. The problem with “just don’t use the feature if you don’t want it” is that you’re completely missing the point, and you put on airs that the only reason why anyone has opposition to “just not using the feature” is because of elitism.
Part of what makes any of these discussion frustrating is that the most concise way to describe the opposing point of view to yours is to say “games are designed to be played a certain way.” This statement is always interpreted to mean something along the lines of “you’re supposed to play the game PROPERLY you filthy casual,” when (at least when I say it) it’s more meant like “you’re over-simplifying because games aren’t modular like that.” Developers don’t just throw a switch to add a feature to a game, they add the feature and iterate, play-test, and optimize that feature.
Developers aren’t just going to add pause, they’re going to add pause and then focus on implementing more features that take advantage of the pause feature, like journals and detailed inventory management and in-game encounters that are frustratingly difficult or force you to miss out on story if you don’t pause. Further, they’re going to skimp on features that make more sense if pause isn’t present, e.g. a functional quick inventory system or quick weapon swapping. And let’s not forget bugs that are always more prevalent in challenge runs–though admittedly for pause specifically that’s a bit less of an issue, any time you play a game in the way that hasn’t been iterated on by the developers, you WILL run into more bugs (and so, so many soft-locks) which the developers overlooked.
I have tried various versions of “just not pausing,” with both pause and with other “optional” features, and it’s almost universally not fun to play a game that way. It’s not fun playing a game that hasn’t been iterated, hasn’t been balanced, and hasn’t been optimized for the way I want to play it. It’s always janky, poorly balanced, buggy, and an overall poor experience. It’s the same with almost every difficulty slider ever implemented–it’s always painfully obvious if you turn that slider up, that the developers spent at least a 50:1 ratio of man hours balancing the game at the standard difficulty versus refining the higher-challenge option, to the point of the hard mode being borderline unplayable due to poor balance.
I’m sorry the way I like my games excludes you, but I feel you should recognize that the inverse is also true–I do not enjoy games that make difficulty an “option.” Your fun comes at my expanse just as much as my fun comes at yours, and we’re both better off just buying the games we enjoy and leaving the rest on the shelf instead of trying to homogenize everything.
We can coexist in the world! You can have your games which I won’t try to change and I can have my games you won’t try to change. We can all sing Kumbaya around the campfire. I’ll bring the marshmallows.
Cool! I’ll bring the chocolate and the graham crackers :)
I agree. Choice paralysis on choosing a difficulty is a big issue and will actually prevent me from playing something I might otherwise enjoy because of the sheer concern. Sometimes a whole game can have a really well functioning highest difficulty, and be nearly ruined by one misplaced, unskippable, almost impossible Turret section that scales to the difficulty and was never properly thought out – Both the original Far Cry on PC – and Far Cry 3 had this problem (FC1 more than FC3).
DEVELOPERS – MAKE YOUR INTENDED DESIGN DIFFICULTY LEVEL ABUNDANTLY CLEAR AND PROVIDE AS MUCH INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE.
Some games don’t have this problem so much because they usually have a baseline difficulty that doesn’t stretch the mechanics to breaking point. So, Operation Flashpoint, and Call of Duty, as much as they are seemingly different, as Xbox 360 era games, BOTH utilise a choice where the hardest option is the most ‘Immersive’ one. You might fail at times, but you don’t feel completely cheated.
However, Modern Bethesda RPG games are the worst in terms of custom balancing for their balances and trying to balance their ass on their elbow when it comes to have the IN GAME stat scaling progressions never seem to March up to any difficulty level in any satisfying way – and then layering on additional mechanics which break it. What is the point in having theoretically fierce combat if potions can be made bought and chugged by pausing the game? What is the point in investing in and making potions at all if the game is too easy in order to discourage pausing and making potions, because it cannot guarantee that a Player will have potions as healing item? Or then making potions more useful by using a difficulty slider – which then makes Enemies tougher and exacerbates the wonky combat.
Contrast that with Dishonored (published by Bethesda but made by Arkane) where it is clear enough that the Hardest Difficulty in Dishonored is a reasonable enough way to play Dishonored. There is no ‘Harder than Hard for Dishonored because then it would remind people of late 90s difficulty options. Max Difficulty Dishonored is balanced as far as I can tell and never breaks its own mechanics, in common with Operation Flashpoint and Call of Duty. However, older game Dark Messiah of Might & Magic, also made by Arkane, has a ‘Half life 1 problem’ on harder options.
Game difficulty settings work in entirely different ways depending on the title.
It is entirely reasonable to play Call of Diuty games on Veteran (aha Highest) difficulty from the outset. Enemies always die quickly in CoD, and so does the player if they don’t take cover effectively. That’s reasonable.
Now, LESS reasonable is Half Life 1’s Hard Mode. It adds additional enemy damage AND increases the health of Enemies to the point where the Player would wonder if their guns have not been replaced with Water Pistols. The human soldiers in Half Life 1 were ridiculously bullet spongey even on Normal.
For some reason Half Life 2 doesn’t have this problem, so there is very little discernable difference between shooting a Combine mook with a shotgun or pistol on any difficulty.
So, the answer is to make basic game interactions a ‘utility’ across the board of difficulties. Don’t make enemies have ridiculous amounts of extra HP unless it is clearly labeled as an extra special mode, a ‘mutation’ of the game design, or else it breaks the flow of the game.
While all video games can be reduced to stats and numbers, there is clearly a difference between types of interactions games. While Enemies can be as difficult , a Deep chasm in Tomb Raider doesn’t have any AI or HP whatsoever, yet is still a part of the experience.
See MO:Astray for how the ‘default’ platforming layout was considered too difficult by playtesters, was edited down and not re-released until a later patch.
Enemies interaction with bullets or swords ended up with ‘Health’ to have some kind of internalised ‘pseudo-randomness’ to make interactions not completely repetitive.
So, Resident Evil either makes bullets have a slightly random amount of damage, or the same Enemies have slightly varying HP
(in RE2 Remake different Zombies have different HP to cause the effect). This is designed so that shooting at an enemy or chopping them with a sword cannot readily be discerned by a casual playthrough and therefore boring (unless you are a scientific speedrunner).
Back to Elder Scrolls – what makes that stuff a problem is that trying to provide level scaling and ‘randomness interaction’ comes up with extreme variability – it doesn’t really matter so much in a clunky old RPG where you level up and use your imagination for the interactions, but it DOES matter when games are purporting to have fidelity or verisimilitude. The curse of better graphics is that it now makes us realise how dumb game interactions can really be because the logic behind this play has not changed much since the mid 2000s, and in some cases earlier successes have subsequently been misunderstood entirely.
Dark Souls generally abides by the rule of having mechanical interactions being met with good feedback – because patiently chipping down enemies with ridiculous HP and coming up with strategies to reduce the odds IS a core part of the game. The challenge of Rolling away from an attack, avoiding damage and getting to where you need to go feels good at any level.
Leveling up etc gives the player the ability to make the game easier. It is not really possible to level up a gun in Half Life on Hard, and while it is possible to find a more powerful sword in Skyrim, it is also possible to find regular looking human Enemies that can turn that magic sword to rubber upon contact. And then double the amount of health therefore halving the player’s damage output with an incorrect slider setting.
If people think Dark Souls is stupid, it is because the logic that drives video game playability and glues it with ‘story’ or ‘dialogue’ or ‘content’ can be stupid sometimes. And DS found an elegant way to invoke more by doing less.
It’s kinda hilarious that you don’t see the irony between these two sentences, where you accuse me of minimizing the opinions of others and immediately proceed to do just that to me.
First of all, no, I don’t “minimize the opinions of others because you don’t agree with them”. But I guess it’s easier to ignore someone’s opinion when you can just pretend they’re invalid from the get go, huh?
I’m sorry, but what is this preposterous nonsense? There’s no law that says they can’t just add pause and nothing else. Literally thousands of games have done this. Just add a pause and nothing else. It’s really nothing that requires playtesting. If you can’t put an option to pause the game (one of the most basic options ever since the inception of the medium) without turning it into a buggy mess you suck as a developer.
But to see a punctual example, there are the Professor Layton games. These games require solving puzzles, sometimes within a time limit. Having the ability to pause and see the puzzle would give you infinite time to solve it, which would defeat the purpose, so what does the game do? When you press pause it shows a monochrome screen with the “PAUSED” text on it and nothing else. You get to pause the game to do anything else and you’re still unable to cheat on the puzzle. It’s really that simple, I don’t know why you try to pretend it’s a complicated thing.
You seem to be projecting here. “I don’t find this fun” doesn’t equal “Is not fun for anyone”. What was this you were saying about minimizing the opinions of others? Look in the mirror, pal. In any case, again you’re making preposterous assumptions. No one said anything about rebalancing the game or other optional features. I’m just talking about pause.
I really don’t know where you’re going with this. First, I don’t know how this turned into a discussion about difficulty sliders, since, again all I talked was about adding a pause option. I guess you needed a strawman when you realized you don’t actually have a point. But sure, let’s go with it. Let’s say there are balance issues with the other non-preferable difficulty modes. SO. FREAKING. WHAT? If the preferred mode to play is still the normal or hard mode, and that’s the only difficulty that would be available if the game was released normally, what does it matter to you if the other difficulty settings are not balanced? You’re not going to play them anwyay. They don’t affect you in any way.
Again you’re still making the preposterous, unwarranted assumptions about the never even implied idea that anything else should be changed just by adding an extra option or two. No one’s asking for the entire game to be rebalanced. No one’s asking to take away your precious stuff, just to leave it the way it is but also add a thing or two more for other players. You literally have no reason to complain about, so you devolve into making up stuff to be angry about, and then you have the gall to pretend I’m the unreasonable party here.
If you were trying to prove you’re not an elitist, you made a terrible job of it.
…I think you guys are maybe talking at cross-purposes here? Your (Dreadjaws) original post seemed to be describing a ‘pause’ that freezes the entire game (in order to leave the computer for a few minutes, get a snack, etc.) while Abnaxis seems to be talking about a ‘tactical pause’ option in otherwise real-time gameplay (which might still allow you to check maps, use or swap out inventory items, etc.) The former shouldn’t affect game balance at all; the latter definitely can and does.
That’s exactly my entire point, but the guy doesn’t seem to understand it.
…But so many games have the basic pause feature in single player that it seems almost like a non-issue. It would be rare not to find one.
It has even got to the point where additional features are built in to new versions of games like where the original RE2 had a pause feature that still increased the final gsmeplay timer, whereas RE2Remake did away with it and even had cutscenes not count towards the final timer – it means that someone attempting to complete RE2Remake in under a specific time could complete their run by pausing the game, going away for a bit and/or looking things up, rather than saving an repeating sections.
If this is really about that Dark Souls again… well that has online play built into it as sort of MMO, so doesn’t have a pause button, but the consequences of dying in Dark Souls are not as substantial as other games – it doesn’t completely reset progress. Dark Souls is an MMO and abides by MMO rules – so try introducing difficulty sliders and pause features in MMOs. It can probably be done somehow, but is not expected of the genre.
The issue is that it’s not trivial to ensure that the former isn’t used as the latter, and once that happens then there’s a risk of future iterations balancing for the use of pause tactically that people who liked the original gameplay won’t use but then won’t be able to finish the game without using it. And any attempts to remove that tactical pause option will run the risk of people complaining about those sorts of moves with the same arguments they used for the original inclusion of pause, forcing the designer to either say that that’s not the way they want the game to be played and facing the wrath of some players, or else watering down their design even more to the chagrin of those who liked the original approach.
I’m sorry but this sounds like a slippery slope fallacy. To be clear I agree with some of the assertions, like that the experience of certain games may benefit from not having a pause, or that the pause feature may be “abused” in a way that the devs did not intend (although I don’t think that in itself is quite the catastrophe that some people seem to paint it as), or that adding a well working pause may present a technical challenge in some cases or at the very least an increase in workload. However I fail to see the utter armageddon of player entitlement leading to the destruction, or deterioration, of multiple genres that you seem to be hinting at (exaggerating a bit for dramatic effect). Dark Souls doesn’t have pause* but Nioh does, multiple JRPGs have pausable cutscenes, so do Yakuza games IIRC, there is an entire mechanic called “active pause” that is used in multiple RPGs and RTSes. This is not some hidden exotic feature of a few outlier titles and yet the world of video games somehow does not crash and burn, unless we consider asking the question along the lines of “if Tales of Berseria has pausable cutscenes why doesn’t this other JRPG have them” the equivalent of rioting in the streets.
*Not unreasonable in light of the invasion system, though I don’t think the game would be ruined if it was pausable in offline mode (which it is locked into now due to technical issues if I understand correctly) or if it essentially locked you out of online interaction on pausing and disabled the pause feature when invaded (which I will readily admit may be more of a challenge to implement and is more invasive into the game mechanics).
This shouldn’t really need to be explicitly spelled out, but just to be clear: there is a difference between treating someone your are debating with as if they are a reasonable person, and debating as though everyone who disagrees with you is just too stupid to understand what you’re saying. So no, I did not proceed to minimize your opinion, because I have addressed you with respect and with an underlying assumption that while I disagree with you it’s not because you’re unreasonable.
There’s no law, but in the real world where real people develop games and real people play them “just adding a basic feature” isn’t how game dev works. Adding a pause feature can add bugs and can add perverse incentives that will make people not enjoy your games, and represents more hours not only to code in the pause but to test it and balance it. If a game dev is going to be sinking hours into making a pause screen already, they’re unlikely to stop at JUST a pause screen, when they can add more features to the pause screen itself for people to interact with. And that’s before you get into audience expectations attached a pause function–I’ve played city-builder games where the ability to issue commands was added because audience expectations when the game had your exact “only pause the game” quality-of-life functionality.
At the same time, games without pause functionality are ALSO designed around not having that functionality. They have “safe” areas where you can stand without being threatened. They pace encounters to fit within a single gameplay sessions. They balance their game differently, because they can’t count on players pressing a pause button to cover for when life interrupts. They have to balance the game to do that.
This is why “just don’t use the pause function if you don’t like it” misses the point–the fact that the developers added the function to begin with already means they’ve changed how they designed the game. It really isn’t as simple as just throwing a switch if the developers are doing their jobs right.
No, I am responding to your absolute statement that developers and gamers who prefer games to be played and designed to be play “as intended” are despicable, as stated here:
I am presenting to you why I think games are better off if they are built with a particular play-style in mind, and trying to explain to you why that doesn’t make me a terrible elitist, in response
A “strawman” is a bad-faith argument where one puts forth an argument for their opposition that is farcical and absurd, and only bears cosmetic resemblance to their actual position. If I was strawmanning you, I would be saying something like “look at this idiot who thinks we need pause buttons for chess” and ranting about how absurd that is. The arguments you make in favor of difficulty sliders lends me to believe I was not misrepresenting your position on them, but feel free to correct me.
If you feel like my bringing up difficulty options in a game is a non-sequitur, then sorry I didn’t link it enough to the central theme of this discussion, which (as I view it) centers around accessibility features and whether or not developers should be obligated to add them. You specifically bring up pause buttons as a feature that only adds to accessibility without detracting at all from a game’s quality, and therefore the only reason why they shouldn’t be added is because assholes want games to be exclusive. Difficulty sliders are another mechanic that follow along the same vein–it’s an “option” so it’s often viewed as a cost-free accessibility feature that doesn’t detract from the gameplay experience.
The point I am making is that there is no such thing as a “cost-free” feature. Just because a feature can be ignored doesn’t mean the feature doesn’t affect the rest of a game’s design, because competent developers only have so many hours to spend on making a game so they’re not in the business of sinking hours into a feature that isn’t integrated into the experience–and even if they tried, their audience wouldn’t allow it. Even if hypothetically there’s nothing that says a pause button HAS to affect anything outside of adding pause, in practice it WILL affect things like pacing, level design, difficulty, and subsystems like inventory and codex.
Having a preference for a lack of features doesn’t necessarily stem from wanting to exclude others from playing games, it can also stem from having a preference for the hundreds of little adjustments developers make when they build a game without said features. I like playing games in short sessions. I like scoping out an area to see if it’s safe before I sit down to craft. I like being surprised when the place I scoped out isn’t actually safe and dealing with the aftermath. I like the uptick in quality that comes from a game that focused on a particular intended way to play. That doesn’t make me too stupid to understand your point of view. It just means I disagree with you.
And the latter is the thing you keep doing and I have yet to do, yet you keep pretending I do with literally no evidence about it. If I were to prattle through these articles vehemently screaming to everyone whose opinion differed from mine you’d have a point, but not only you’re basing your entire faux argument on one opinion I have on a very specific subject, but also you are actually behaving as if you cannot understand what I’m saying. I’m not saying you don’t understand me because you’re stupid. I’m saying you deliberately misinterpret my words and then behave like a massive jerk about it.
Oh, fuck off. Seriously, go to hell. There has not been one inkling of respect in any of your words towards me, you elitist prick. Fuck it, I don’t care if Shamus bans me for this, I’m sick of your passive-aggressive bullshit.
You literally quote my words after this paragraph yet you still managed to put in my mouth some bullshit I never said. I have no problem with people who “prefer” to play a game a certain way. My problem, as I very clearly explained with the words you’re simultaneously quoting and failing to understand is with people who get upset at those who don’t prefer to play the same way as them. Apples and oranges. Are you daltonic or something?
I can’t understand if you’re really this dumb or you think I am. THEY. DON’T. HAVE. TO. CHANGE. THE. GAME. AT. ALL. THEY DON’T HAVE TO. Your entire argument is predicated in me asking them to do something I never asked them to do. All developers have to do is enable an extra option, at the start of the game: “Do you want to play the game with the ability to pause or without?” and all you have to do is pick “without”. How the game is balanced is meaningless. It doesn’t affect you in any way whatsoever.
So, literally what you’re doing. You’re complaining about stuff I never mentioned and you get angry at me as if I had.
And the point that I’m making is that this is absolute horseshit. There are literally hundreds of games that do this all the time. The Monkey Island Special Edition launched with a new art style, but you can, at any point, pick the classic pixel art. Fans of pixel art can play the whole game with it, at no point needing to see the new one. So that’s one option that absolutely does not affect them in any way but it’s still there for those who want it. But I bet if you were to be a fan of the original you would be crying in forums about how they “completely ruined the experience for you”.
Well, you’re doing a terrible job of showing it, pal.
Thread closed. Talk about something else.
I’ve lost all of the respect I had for Dreadjaws. This was poor stuff.
I should support that: in addition to just being nasty to another user, in the included link he laments that a scaling feature determines an optimal way to play in a game and believes that a player basically has to play the way the system determines:
Whereas here I read him acting confused and almost insulted that somebody could believe the same thing about how a pause system could affect the downstream design of a game. So he seems to recognize that implementing a convenience feature can have consequences on how the game is played but then typed all of the stuff we read above. Consistency and politeness are paramount and a lack of either is tolerable on a bad day but a lack of both is gross.
As someone who doesn’t care about the topic at hand – are you sure he doesn’t have a point about how you are approaching the discussion? If you’re the same guy who got involved in that millennial debate a week or so ago, I considered responding to your first post on the subject but ultimately decided not to…and I definitely felt that was the right choice after I saw how you responded to the people who did respond to you.
Of course, I may just be sooper sensitive. Just wanted to give you a data point.
I checked, and in fairness to Dreadjaws, no, he’s not “the same guy who got involved in that millennial debate a week or so ago”. But I can understand why you’d be hesitant, considering how he sometimes responds.
Now, if you meant to reply to Abnaxis, then consider what I just said null and void. Though, you may want to clarify that as soon as possible, so that others don’t get confused. It took me a bit of wondering and I just now decided to actually check.
Question, instead of looking at it like as a pause, what about a suspend mode?
One of the things I loved about the DS and 3DS was that no matter what was happening(cutscene, gameplay etc..) you could always fold the system closed and it would put everything on hold(provided you weren’t playing online, obviously).
The suspend feature was mandated for all games on the system(VITA too come to think of it) and I believe games were better off for it.
All modern consoles have suspend modes and I believe the Xbox-whatever-the-latest-one-is-my-mind-is-saying-Xbox-X lets you suspend a lot of games simultaneously, so I could see this becoming a standard feature, even if it’s tougher for PCs
I kinda figured but I don’t have the PS5 or recent XBOX to be able to say definitively. PS4 could suspend but I remember suspending a game during a cutscene and when I started again, the cutscene was over. Not sure if it was a glitch though.
This right here is one of my favorite features of the later Nintendo consoles. My Switch and 3DS are never turned off. I just press a button or close the system and it’s instantly suspended no matter what I was doing, then I can go back to it whenever I can and the game or software is exactly where I left it.
But don’t tell this guy that. Apparently doing such a thing is impossible without creating a lot of bugs and ruining the balance of the game. Go figure.
So, I just can’t wrap my mind around this line of thought. Thought experiment: a developer releases a game you absolutely love, with no difficulty options. (I’m specifically not thinking of any actual game here.) It’s hard, but well balanced for your skill level, and you have a blast with it. Thought experiment #2: it turns out there actually was a difficulty slider all along! The developers just forgot to uncomment a config option that enabled it in-game for a few months. It’s the exact same game, but now it has a difficulty slider. Does that somehow retroactively destroy your enjoyment of the game because…what, there are options now? What does it matter if the other difficulty options aren’t as balanced as the default, if you’re already having fun with the default? How does adding completely-ignorable options somehow diminish enjoyment of what you already have?
This is what drives me insane about this guy’s rethoric. He tries to paint the situation as people with different tastes where he is the justice-seeking paladin who respects others’ wishes and those who disagree with him are terrible people who can’t stand dissenting opinions. Yet he’s the one who gets upset at people enjoying a game in a different way than him.
It’s really puzzling what goes through this guy’s head. Either he’s an elitist prick who hates the idea of people having fun in what he considers “the wrong way” or a paranoid lunatic who thinks everyone’s out to ruin his hobby, even though the entire point of my original comment was to make games more accessible to others without changing what makes them appealing to the current fanbase. Look how the only way he could counter my argument was invent a parallel universe where my argument was an entirely different one in which I demanded extra difficulty settings and rebalancing.
One of us is stooping to ad hominem and describing people who disagree with them as terrible people, and getting upset that anyone is disagreeing with them. It is not me.
Would this be a good time to mention (to both of you) that I have a userscript for this site that lets you collapse comments and automatically hide comments from specific users? Because I don’t think either of you come off this discussion looking good and it should have been stopped like 5 replies ago.
Honestly, if you can’t stand what the other person writes, just collapse their comments and go on with life. Can highly recommend it.
MO:Astray is actually a good example where they released two different difficulties and then patched in a third straight after release, and a fourth later on.
So, ‘Normal’ was actually the easy mode, ‘Hard’ mode was their Normal but also the highest option, and the patched in ‘Easy mode’ was actually the very easy mode. They took two approaches which was removing platforming obstacles and having variable ‘Health’ depending on difficulty.
Then later on they added ‘Disaster Mode’, which was apparently their original vision and design for the game, but playtesters found it too difficult so the release version never contained that option. As a matter of perspective, is that a developer adding additional challenge later on, or simply putting back in what they think should have been there?Think of disaster mode as like a ‘Director’s Cut’ version.
Dark Souls 2 is also a good example of a ‘secret difficulty modifier’ where joining a Covenant early straight up makes the game more difficult without a new player realising – it was right in the open at the beginning. I also get the impression that the additional modifier was the ‘Disaster Mode’ of Dark Souls 2 – it was possibly supposed to be that way before some unpopular ‘easy features’ came in like killing an enemy roughly times making them disappear completely. That feature is turned off when joining the Covenant.
It could mean that restarting Dark Souls 2 makes you think you have got better at it… which could be so… but it would also be easier if you happen to skip the Covenant a second time. That’s all hidden stuff that is like pre-rosetta stone Egyptology and archaeology but for video game difficulty.
History has shown that the issue isn’t so much in that game, but in the next one or in patches for that game, because once the difficulty slider is officially in the game then it’s a feature and designers will both feel pressure to make it work to the expectations of the people who like it AND will want to take advantage of it to make their designing lives easier. So it WILL ultimately have an impact on gameplay. And he has a point that they will tend to test and balance the difficulty levels that most people use and ignore the ones that most people don’t. I’m not really as sold on the idea that simply adding difficulty levels will cause such issues if the default level is balanced as per what the only level was and difficulty levels are cases where that DEFINITELY opens up a game to a far broader audience since it doesn’t restrict it based on innate skill levels (vs practiced skill levels, which is what “git gud” refers to), but I can imagine some sorts of games where trying to balance things that way would have an impact on the gameplay itself and not be something a designer would want. It’s about as problematic to complain about a designer who wants their game to be a certain way as it is to complain about a player who fears adding options will impact in the gameplay too much. In both cases, the best idea is for people to not play games that don’t work for them, and hope that the market will provide at least enough games for everyone to get decent gaming in the way they like it.
I think the idea is that some people consider the meta-game to be part of the game. In this view, there isn’t a distinct line (the “magic circle” in game-dev parlance?) that delineates the difficulty options from the in-game mechanics. Are community managers game developers in that light? Is there anything either real or imagined which is not part of a game experience? Will this line of reasoning devolve into real-life political squabbles?
This, exactly, is the problem: Your thought experiment is not what actually happens. In fact, what is more likely to happen is that the no-difficulty-slider game actually isn’t that good in the first place precisely because the developers didn’t design around it but settled on that design at the last minute. This isn’t entirely hypothetical; look at no-fast-travel modes for Bethesda games that are patched in after the fact.
I think I, and a lot of the other people arguing in this thread, would agree that magicking a difficulty slider into such a game after the fact wouldn’t affect our ability to play it as intended (and in fact I don’t care if other people install mods for their games that don’t appeal to me personally). But requesting a feature is requesting design work on that feature and the implications matter even for people who try to “just not use that feature”.
Once an optimal way was discovered of doing something, it felt foolish not to do it. This was my experience with two years of WoW: Classic. The game’s epitaph was “Here was how people played an old game when almost every trick and exploit had been discovered and every strategy had been optimized.”
In gaming, a single, dominant strategy emerges that drowns all others. In WoW: Classic we saw:
-tactics (spell choices, movement, what types of cover to use)
-logistics (discovery of opportunities such as valuable herbs or dragon spawns, maximizing gold earnings by doing GDKP raids instead of guild raids, real players stepping away from enjoyable activities such as farming and mining to let bots take up the mantle)
…and much more – everything, really – fully optimized to the point that to play competitively you had to utilize every possible advantage. The game was not designed with the min-maxer in mind and so, as players played it at full throttle, the magic was lost.
This explains a psychological element held by many of the players. As that Soren Johnson quote says:
“Given the opportunity, players will optimize the fun out of a game….One of the responsibilities of designers is to protect the player from themselves.”
These people are full throttlers and there are many of them. I don’t see this as a bad thing, though. You can make games for these people and the designers and players can be happy about it. FromSoftware proves that easily. So, if we are willing to accept that a large group of players are drawn to maximizing utility to their own detriment and to diminished outcomes, then we acknowledge that a feature added to a game will have some sort of an effect.
It is up to the game designers to decide what kind of game they are making. If they are making a game for such players then it is irrational to ask those players to intentionally deprive themselves of advantages. I believe that there should be games for players who want to push as hard as possible against the parameters that a developer lays out. Apparently, others do not believe this. I would wish for recognition by these people of how accessibility features can diminish games. Even including something as seemingly innocuous as a pause feature can change the experience and can change the game design.
If my comment was not helpful then this video might be:
tl;dw: make games for everybody including for those who do not want the temptation of accessibility advantages.
The Bethesda devs would likely disagree with you on this, as would almost certainly many others. Skyrim’s pause system includes Quest tracker, Game Stats, and the Save/Load system, while still also including the ability to use a limited quick inventory and weapon/spell swapping.
The recently released LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has a pause menu (shows some location stats, and standard system-function options), and a separate menu (which does not pause the game) to handle tracking collectables, characters, ships, upgrades, location map, and extras.
I remember being in that conversation, but I don’t think I was the originator of the argument you were arguing against and certainly hope you aren’t referring to me here, since my argument was not that but was more “Adding pause COULD have such impacts and so isn’t necessarily that simple”, as best I can recall. At any rate, this is an example of that sort of thing, because here you move from “Allow the player to pause the game” which in its simplest and more natural form is just to stop everything to “Well, okay, instead of a simple pause you need to make it bring up a menu or create a blank screen or something to avoid changing the gameplay”, which requires more thought, especially given that for different games different solutions might be required. For example, in your Professor Layton example below you say that blanking the screen avoids the exploit of pausing during puzzles that have a time limit if someone remembers what it looks like or even has the ideas they are thinking about in their head it would give them more thinking time, and they could easily exploit that by pausing, thinking, and then unpausing only when they need to look at it specifically. So given that model, either the designers have to plan their pause method out to avoid exploits and test it, or else accept that people will exploit it, which will change the game. And if adding such things changes gameplay and draws in an audience that likes that sort of gameplay, it might be difficult to avoid enhancing that gameplay in response to player feedback. It is indeed the case that once something is added as an explicit feature then there will ALWAYS be some pressure to make sure that that feature works in the best way possible.
Don’t get me wrong, as a casual gamer I DO want the ability to pause or to be able to exit a game at convenient times. But I can see that for some games just adding pause isn’t that simple, and given that am somewhat sympathetic to people who worry that adding it will ultimately change the game and implore me to just play something else.
That being said, pausing when the system menu is accessed seems to work in most cases and is a workaround I’ve used in the past, so to some degree players can use workarounds for that as well without it being an official feature.
This is unreasonable, because it’s easy to imagine certain types of games where pausing is indeed an issue and would impact the gameplay they are going for. To dismiss that as you have means that those sorts of games wouldn’t get made because only crappy designers would make them, and to integrate pause properly with those sorts of games is a lot more work than it might seem at first.
Presumably to avoid that you’d have to make that the ONLY saving option, or at least make it so that loading can’t be done except on reopening the game, and this idea is a prime example of a case where things like that have unforeseen consequences. First, doing that doesn’t actually prevent save scumming as all it means it that you have to open the game again to do that. I know that I’ve done exactly that in some games that forced that. Second, leaving that as the only option is really, really annoying. I might want to save my progress so far in case something happens or because I’ve done something I really like but keep playing, and doing that means that I’d have to open the game again, which is really annoying. An example where this would be mandatory is in “Star Wars: Rebellion” where the GOG version on Windows 10 crashes randomly, and so if I don’t save regularly I risk losing a lot of progress when it crashes but if I had to exit and restart the game I’d lose the best part of it which is the uninterrupted RTS progression. Thankfully, it doesn’t force quitting. And third, loading only on opening the game would be annoying if I made a mistake or had the RNG hurt me and wanted to undo that mistake. So it isn’t as easy as you make it sound to simply add options, because having those options WILL change the gameplay and if the designers don’t want it to change the gameplay adding those options takes a lot more work.
The issue is that the more options you have the more difficult it is to balance a game for those options. Take the notion of optional sidequests in RPGs that provide money, items and XP. So now you’re at the final battle. Who do you balance the game for: those who did all the sidequests or those who didn’t? Balance it for the people who did them and those optional sidequests are suddenly not optional. Balance for those who didn’t and the people who did the sidequests find it way too easy. In either case, the players who took the option you didn’t balance the game for find the game less fun than those who did (for the most part). Save scumming is a bit different since it’s kinda cheating and so in theory you can ignore those who did it and balance for those who didn’t, but then you might be annoying a large part of your audience, and if enough of them do it and complain that they didn’t care for the game since the balance was off there will always be pressure to balance the game for the save scumming option as opposed to those who didn’t want it, at which point like in the optional sidequests example they are no longer able to just not use it since that’s the only way they can finish the game.
I hasten to add that I’m not saying that no one should ever do this. I’m simply pointing out that it definitely has more of an impact on gameplay and game design than you are acknowledging.
Nope. The game I referenced with mid-battle pausing is Nuclear Throne and it hides the field under a menu. Still helps.
Then it’s really not such a complicated game, is it? If difficulty is so easily defeated that it depends on not having a pause button to have it, that doesn’t sound like a hard experience at all. And, in any case, like I mentioned it before, there are other ways to make the pause detrimental for the player who intends to use it to cheese a fight.
React and the Metaverse, probably? And of course we don’t have deep insights into FB infrastructure, so if they have their own take on k8s/Mesosphere/whatever we don’t know how much time goes into that.
That said, if I were a dev at Meta, I would spend most of the day drinking heavily, trying to avoid facing the harm I’d be doing to the world. And hey, MMAAAN money buys lots of beer.
I haven’t had many problems with Java Minecraft, but I tweak the JVM to get max performance out of it. When all the mods I want make it to 1.19 I’m gonna use Shenandoah GC, that’ll be a fine day.
I’m on a slighly older GNU/Linux system (I believe I got this computer in… 2016?), and my home partition is on a hybrid drive (though I do have an SSD for the system partition), while there are exceptions (*cough* Steam), most applications launch in about a second, with the more lightweight ones (TigerVNC, Rxvt-unicode) able to launch in a matter of milliseconds.
Thanks for answering my question! I’m thinking of getting the Java version, and I’m now looking into what mods to get for some basic quality-of-life improvements. By the looks of things, this is definitely going to take a while… But as far as rabbit holes go, this is definitely a fun one :D
NEI/JEI/REI (easily look up all recipes) and WAILA/HWYLA/TOP/Jade (display the name of the thing you are looking at) are pretty much no-brainers.
Lino, a small child like your sister isn’t going to know or care about mods. If you’re interested in them for your own sake, then that’s one thing, but I wouldn’t worry about them for her sake until she expresses a serious interest in the game.
@John- Maybe. Maybe not. It is likely the reason she wants to play is for something specific she already saw or friends she wants to play with. Meaning she doesn’t want to play “Minecraft” per se. She wants to reproduce someone else’s experience. In fact I’d say this is the more likely case rather than randomly deciding ‘Yup. Minecraft. That’s for me.’
Lino, my advice is to talk to her and ask follow up questions of why she wants to play. And what drew her to want to. I strongly doubt it will be anything along the lines of draw distances or mods. But she will likely mention something that you can figure out.
You may be right. I would definitely agree with you if we were talking about an older child and I think that your advice to Lino is in either case very good. I just think that a small child who is new to PC gaming is going to have enough trouble with things like WASD and mouse-look that mods simply won’t be relevant to her for a while.
I was referring to things along the lines of her describing capture the flag or Star Wars skins etc. Where you can go “that’s not in Minecraft, must be a mod.” Then find out she wasn’t even talking about Minecraft, but Micecraft. A completely different game. Or she mentions a youtuber she likes. Or her friend Sally down the road on her XBox. Then you find out what they are doing, and simply do that. Point is it could be vanilla Minecraft or something very different from that.
Where you end up discovering she was always really referring to Lego Star Wars. Or a host of other possible non-sequiturs you would never figure out on your own. She’s 5. Best to follow up if what she thinks she is asking for is actually what she is asking for.
Thanks for all the great advice, guys – Shamus, Paul, MerryWeathers, tmtvl, John and Steve C!
Once I have her in front of the game, I’ll see what she asks for. tmtvl’s suggestion for easy to look up recipes will definitely help me help her in the beginning, since so far she’s talked about the survival aspects of the game. Although she also likes watching people build outlandish stuff, so I suspect she’s really going to like Creative mode.
In any case, let’s first get her in front of the game, and see how we go from there. Maybe it won’t even hold her interest long enough.
For a five year old? Creative mode all the way. They don’t understand delaying gratification and will lose interest immediately.
Older kids have just as little interest in vanilla Minecraft and are all about the mods, AFAICT.
I’ve opened up Firefox twice so many times because it doesn’t like to have a “I heard what you want and I’m thinking about it” response.
I was in your shoes one and a half years ago when our daughter was born. A few quick tips:
1. Take as much time off as you can the first weeks of your newborns existence. In the Netherlands where I live we can get a max of six weeks. Make sure to take the max of whatever you can get. Those first weeks are important for bonding. Also they are *brutal* on your sleep.
2. Your wife will have a great headstart in bonding with your son, since she carried him for nine months. So the “absolute undying love” feeling for your child is not there initially as a father. This is completely normal and it will come with time. Don’t worry about it.
3. Regarding video games, babies sleep 12-20 hours a day. At first you might want to catch some sleep as well, but after some time that means there is still plenty of opportunity to game a few hours per week. I recommend age of empires 2, as you can save that instantly (and the definitive edition is pretty good).
Good luck and enjoy!
When I had to care for an infant, I found that handheld gaming was much more convenient than PC gaming. Even if I couldn’t quickly and conveniently save my game when I needed to attend to my child, I could always put my Nintendo DS into sleep mode just by snapping it shut and sticking it in my pocket. I don’t know if the Switch has similar functionality, but your phone or tablet certainly does. Mobile games have a bad reputation, but I’m pretty sure that they can’t all be crap.
Yep, hit the home button on a Switch and everything instantly suspends, ready to resume at a moment’s notice later. You do need to be careful to actually start up the game and save properly if you want to open something else, and system updates will prompt you to close running software and update whenever you try to resume. Always a confirmation before actually closing the game and losing current state, though.
I enjoy Hearthstone on mobile, but that game unequivocally cannot be stopped at a moment’s notice.
Hmmmm, maybe I could bust out the old PS Vita?
If you want a pause-able mobile Hearthstone alternative:
1. If you’re into HS Battlegrounds, then I strongly recommend Super Auto Pets – a simple, cute, yet surprisingly deep auto-battler that you can quit at any time, and your progress is saved. It’s against other people, but it’s asynchronous multiplayer, so you can play it at your own pace.
2. If you like HS’s deck building aspect, then I strongly recommend the single player mode for Legends of Runeterra (it’s called Path of Champions). You play against AI, so you can leave tje game open for as long as you like, because you have an infinite turn timer. And since it’s against AI, you can build some seriously broken decks!
Path of Champions is my new drug lately. It’s actually possibly the closest feeling I’ve ever gotten to the Microprose Magic: The Gathering game, which is extremely high praise for people who’ve heard of it.
Yeah, most online games are out. Turn-based single-player is the ideal when you’ve got a baby, though single-player more generally is probably also fine provided you can pause easily.
If you have or can get a tablet, then Invisible Inc is a fantastic turn based game. Also Thronebreaker (and Banner Saga 1/2, if you like being frustrated)
Also hold onto the fact that children basically get easier the older they get (on average and in general, no guarantees). Good luck!
I played both unciv and andor’s trail. Both are good games for android (and open source,so free and without ads).
On the other hand, I found that I would get totally absorbed by playing these games. And I did not want to be the father that only looked at his tablet and not at his baby daughter, so I stopped playing mobile games when she was around.
Thank you for the advice and encouragement, pseudonym – if that is your real name ;)
Always keen to hear advice from gamer parents who have forged that path before me.
Nick – I ended up not playing any games that can’t be paused, which means I never play anything online and never play anything that’s too complicated, because I need to be able to come back from an interruption and figure out what the hell I was doing. (I picked up cross stitch as a hobby in large part because it’s similarly very interruptible.)
I also had to temporarily stop playing any games with fighting (which was almost all of them) while the kids were awake because they were having a lot of trouble understanding that the primary means of conflict resolution in a game (i.e., punching evil in the face) doesn’t translate well to conflict with your brother or classmates. We also had to ban them from watching any kids’ shows with fighting (Kung Fu Panda, etc.). They’ve gotten better about that as they’ve matured, but that was a long several years.
Ruben is the name, nice to meet you. My parents chose a biblical name due to being pretty universal across much of the globe. So that’s some other advice in case you are still undecided ;-).
Also, and most importantly: go to the bathroom the minute the opportunity arises because you might not get another chance for several hours.
“Andy giveth, and Bill taketh away.” Referring to the late Andy Grove of Intel, and Bill Gates of Microsoft.
Also, symptoms like brain fog really creep up on you. I didn’t realize how thoroughly exhausted I was, a decade ago, until after I had a serious heart issue (that I hadn’t known I had) corrected.
When my son was an infant but past the newborn stage I used to put him to sleep by putting him in my lap and singing Rock Band songs to him.
Linux is usually pretty good about starting programs promptly, but there are exceptions. The Steam client is fairly awful, for example. (Also, it takes a while to start. Ha ha!) Java programs can suffer from a bit of delay because the computer needs to get the Java Virtual Machine up and running before it can actually start executing a Java program, to the point where I occasionally wish I had taken up C++ and GTK rather than Java and Swing. (If only Swing hadn’t been so darned well-documented!)
CPP and GTK? That’s an unusual combination, did you mean Vala and GTK? Or CPP and Qt?
I worked a fair bit with Java in the past and despite a fair few pain points, it has Maven. When I wanted to make a Qt application I had to learn to grapple with CMake and it really made me appreciate how good the Java build experience is.
GraalVM should improve the VM spin up situation, they should’ve copied that from Lisp way earlier.
No, I meant what I said, but I know very little about GTK, so if it’s not actually a C++ library or even not a UI framework, then I’m not all that surprised. All I’m sure of is that a lot of Linux programs use GTK.
Way back when I decided to teach myself a programming language that wasn’t Fortran, a programming language that would be suitable for–gasp!–interactive programs, my prime candidates were, for whatever reason, C++ and Java. I’d learned a little C++ in college so I thought I’d check out Java first. The rest is history, so to speak. Java did what I needed it to do, Swing, the included UI library, was very well-documented, and, as I live in a mixed Linux-Windows marriage, Java’s portability really is very useful to me.
I’ve never had performance issues with a Java program once it’s up and running but it can take a while for Java programs to get started, so I occasionally like to daydream about what might’ve been if I’d gone down that other route.
Ah well, GTK is a set of C libraries, so they have bindings for pretty much every language that has an FFI… but the GNOME devs decided to make their own language, called Vala, which is actually a pretty nice take on C with OOP.
No worries: Java was the better route:
– No multiple inheritance
– No operator overloading
Single inheritance: this object has a method that is not in the class description. Where is it? Must be in the parent class! (Iterate until success.)
Multiple inheritance: the same, but now I have to do tree traversal. Which parent takes priority? Have to have 20 files open simultaneously… (Brain overload imminent). Multiple inheritance is a reaaaaally fancy way of creating GOTO spaghetti code.
Operator overloading: a fancy way of saying: we mess with your expectations…
I don’t love either of those features or C++ in general, but I think that’s kind of a shallow basis to make language selection choices on? Especially when they’re already talking about real, measurable differences in program behavior (JVM start up time), it’s kind of weird to say that “ignore that, Java was the better choice because it doesn’t have two features of C++ that I don’t like”.
True, I should have adressed that particular issue, rather than just dismissing C++ on two other features.
As regards to slow Java startup time. I wonder how much of it is unpacking of the jar. Presumably the JVM is optimized for startup time. The jar file is however a zip file internally. If it uses compression inside that might actually cause the slow startup. Decompressing is *hard* and therefore quite slow. I don’t know if John will still read this, but he could have a look at this. If the jar file can be stored uncompressed it might lead to faster startup time.
As for C++ and startup time. I’d advice going for C. C has all the things you need for fast programs. All C++ does is add extra abstractions. This might be convenient to some programmers, but they certainly don’t help with speed and startup time. A cpu has registers that perform operations on data loaded from memory, not builtin support for classes. If you need speed it can not be done by abstracting the hardware away. I hear good things about Rust too, but I haven’t used that language personally.
Eh, Java still has a potential “Where is this method from?” problem because a class can implement multiple interfaces. And I honestly have always thought that operator overloading is kind of neat.
All that implementing an interface does is force the implementing class to have certain methods with certain method signatures. What is inside the method is done entirely by the implementing class, the interface just enforces what the method’s name, the argument list, and the return type.
Now, if you really wanted to know where the method came from, then yeah you have to find which interface is enforcing that method to be there, but you need look no further than the implementing class to see anything else.
An interface can have an actual method now (well, since like Java 8), which is fine when used in moderation… but developers and moderation go together like Bethesda and making well-tested bug free games.
Unless they are C programmers. C has a wonderful small toolset that makes for easy to read code because there aren’t crazy abstractions to get stuck on.
If only C programmers wouldn’t program like their text editor can only address 4K of memory and give variables meaningful names such as: ‘x’, ‘gvt’, ‘bd’, ‘sfx’ etc…
Linux may have its faults, but when you give it a high priority kill command for a misbehaving application – gone in an instant.
Yes, that’s great, just as long as you can open a terminal window.
Yeah, that is the rub.
ctrl+alt+F1-8 switches you to different virtual terminals (F7 being the default where your desktop lives) meaning that the only reason you would be unable to open a terminal is if the system is completely frozen.
I just timed Steam opening on my Debian 10 system with an 8-year-old mid-range CPU and SSD, and got ~8.3 seconds. It at least had the “logging into your account” (or whatever it says) window after a second or two so I knew it was working. That’s definitely a lot longer than most programs; most of the ones I tend to use are in the range of 1–3 seconds. (Interestingly, Blender took about 5 seconds [counting in my head] when I opened it for the first time since last restarting my computer, then was <3 for subsequent times when I went to use the stopwatch.)
Thanks to Shamus and Paul for making it through the last of my questions.
…this might be my new favourite out-of-context quote from the show :D
Finally got to that part, and it was pretty great!
Probably a lot of those Facebook coders are responsible for working on the tools that collect, organize and analyze all of the harvested user data.
Facebook is probably pretty hesitant to make major changes to its main user-interface at this point, since it’s used by so many people many of them not particularly tech saavy, but the company has tons of ongoing projects, some related to the “traditional Facebook” some not.
There’s the Business Suite, which is tooling for companies running their business in Facebook, it’s not something that the average person is aware of, but a pretty big part of their business model.
Safe to assume there’s probably a significant AI division, that’s kind of a big thing in companies in these sort of spaces.
And of course anyone working on Occulus stuff is under facebook’s banner at this point, too.
And the standard percentage of developers needed just to “keep the lights on” in a sense – one might think software that actively isn’t being changed doesn’t require maintenance, but that’s often not the case if you want to keep up with things like security patches.
There’s also a bunch of internal/external tooling teams – they’ve actually had bigger impacts in the front-end programming world over the last decade than even a company like Google: React (biggest front-end UI framework), Flow (alternative JS type-checker to TS), Yarn (JS package manager), and Hack (Compile-to-PHP language) are all projects that came from facebook and some of which are still maintained full-time by facebook employees. (And this is probably the tip of the iceberg of stuff that stays internal… or just stuff that I can’t name off the top of my head)
As much as I hate Facebook, I have to grudgingly admit that it’s a really stable platform. It’s used 24/7, all year round, by more than two BILLION people, yet I’ve yet to see it go down or have any significant slow-downs.
So whatever those devs are doing, the ones working on stability definitely know their stuff!
In regards to facebook my mom is an admin for our city’s lost pets group. I’m not sure on the specifics but I believe it’s run as a…business account? So it can have multiple admins and do a bunch of extra stuff with posts. A few months ago facebook updated that whole type of account and according to my mom made doing anything on the account take twice as long. So it seems they’re doing stuff. Just stupid stuff that makes it even more of an ordeal to use.
Ads. Facebook’s business model is ads, they have a ton of ML engineers making invisible tweaks that produce 0.00271% more ad revenue by better analyzing your cookies to determine what you’re likely to click on.
So the first thing I thought about when I saw “quicker quitting” was actually something different. Can someone explain to me the rationale behind putting the actual closing of the game behind so many different steps? In some cases it’s like: open the menu, go into the submenu (typically “system”), go down to quit which is going to be the very last option, confirm that you indeed want to end your game session, go to the splash “press any button” screen, go into the options in the main menu, scroll down to quit, confirm again that you want to shut down the game. It’s especially the “quitting takes you to the title screen” bit that baffles me.
Now that I think about it – whatever happened to the “Quit to Desktop” option in video games? There were always two distinct options – “Quit to Menu” and “Quit to Desktop”. Maybe it stopped being the norm once games started being designed for consoles first, and PC ports were an afterthought.
Even though today that’s not the case, there are some things that haven’t caught up with the times.
Just the other day I was remembering the “hilarity” of how you had to quit the original Assassins Creed. It was genuinely amazing how many buttons you had to press just to quit to desktop.
As a PS4 and PC gamer I am often getting confused by the fact that on console you don’t quit a game via a menu, you just press the Home button and then quit the game from there, essentially as if you did alt-tab and then killed the program via Windows,
The most recent three Assassins’ Creeds have separate options for quitting to title and quitting to desktop. All the games I’ve played recently have the latter option, but I don’t actually play a wide variety of games so YMMV. :)
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