Achilles and the Grognard: Over the Hump

By Bob Case Posted Saturday Sep 7, 2019

Filed under: Video Games 141 comments

Achilles: This game is starting to click. We’re over the first hump.

The Grognard: “Hump”?

Achilles: Most RPGs have a hump somewhere around the ten to twenty hour mark. It varies from game to game exactly when. But it’s the point where you get to your first real town, and side quests start buzzing around like mosquitoes. You get overwhelmed, and you feel like you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing. But then you knock out a couple quests, and then a couple more, and you get over the hump to the real game. Everything before the first hump is basically the tutorial, whether they call it that or not.

The Grognard: Where was this hump? In the game world, I mean.

Achilles: The southern end of the map. Beregost, Nashkel, that area. Once you get back to Beregost after killing whatshisname down in the mines.

The prose in the dream sequences is a bit overwrought, but they were still intriguing during my first playthrough.
The prose in the dream sequences is a bit overwrought, but they were still intriguing during my first playthrough.

The Grognard: That plot point always seemed strange to me. One guy, hiding in the bottom of mine, can “poison” the entire output of said mine. It seems like there would be a host of practical problems with that plan, doesn’t it?

Achilles: It was a little strange, but overall the story is good. It doesn’t get in the way – it’s like a detective story you gradually unravel while doing other things. Not like some RPGs where they’re constantly pestering you and pointing you towards the next thing you’re supposed to do.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Achilles and the Grognard: Over the Hump”



Game Programming Vexations Part 2: The Four Challenges of Game Development

By Shamus Posted Thursday Sep 5, 2019

Filed under: Programming 84 comments

So why do we need a new language for games? Isn’t the world full of languages at this point? Is it really true that in all the dozens of active languages out there, none of them is suitable for making video games?

A year ago Blow gave a talk where he said he didn’t want to use any of the extant languages because they contribute to an ongoing “general insanity” going on in software development. It’s a long and multi-faceted argument, but if I had to boil it down to a soundbite I’d say that there’s a general desire to hide the hardware away behind abstractions and this is making our software slow.

I’m not qualified to support or refute that argument, so if you think Blow is wrong then you’ll have to take it up with him. I’m going to come at the argument from a different angle…

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Game Programming Vexations Part 2: The Four Challenges of Game Development”



Patreon UI Problems

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Sep 4, 2019

Filed under: Rants 22 comments

I posted this a week ago, but I did so after a video. A lot of people assumed the text was just a transcript of the videoProbably because I told them that’s what it was. and thus didn’t see this additional rant. So here it is again:

On Patreon, I announced that you can get your name in the credits as one of the reward tiers. The problem is that the Patreon reward system is needlessly obtuse thanks to the vanity of some obnoxious graphic designer. People keep getting confused because they want the $2 reward, but they want to give more than $2. They click on the “Name in the credits” reward tier, and it will LOWER their existing contribution to $2. Ridiculous!

This isn’t a hypothetical. This actually happened. To multiple people. Some of them emailed me for help, but others just shrugged and moved on. This interface design actually cost me a little bitLike, $20 to $30. Not the end of the world, but just enough to be annoying. of support.

Someone is so enamored of their sexy layout that they’re willing to sacrifice usability. It looks like this:

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Patreon UI Problems”



This Dumb Industry: What is Vulkan?

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Sep 3, 2019

Filed under: Column 114 comments

Here is the first video in the This Dumb Industry series. As I mentioned before, these videos begin as articles and are then turned into videos. I think this works better than going the other way. This ought to read like a slightly informal variant of my old columns. Or you could just watch the video. Whatever works for you.

Like I mentioned on the last video, I have a Patreon reward tier for people who want their names in the credits. These videos are often produced a week or so ahead of time, so if you signed up in the last 7 days or so then your name probably won’t show up yet.  I just wanted to make it clear that I didn’t forget you, we’re just dealing with normal video-production lag times. If you’re signed up now then you should show up in the next vid.

One final note is that this is obviously a shorter and less detailed version of an article I wrote back in 2016. I wanted to start off this series with something familiar and easy before we try to tackle more challenging topics.

Anyway, on to the article:

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “This Dumb Industry: What is Vulkan?”



Diecast #272: Control, Fortnite, Classic WoW

By Shamus Posted Monday Sep 2, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 93 comments

Here is a Diecast with 50% extra diecasting! You’re welcome! All this time, and we STILL somehow didn’t manage to answer any listener questions. I just want to make it clear that we’re not aloof, we’re incompetent. Big difference.


Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes: Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #272: Control, Fortnite, Classic WoW”