Spider-Man Part 20: The Pugilist Spider-Man

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jul 11, 2019

Filed under: Retrospectives 78 comments

New York city is now filled with escaped convicts terrorizing the populace. Sable agents have declared martial law and are using their unchecked power to imprison civilians, beat them, and seize their property. The Sinister Six are loose in the city and causing even more destruction. Doctor Octopus has released Devil’s Breath, which is causing a pandemic that will certainly claim thousands of lives, and might even kill millions if we don’t find a cure.

The city is now screwed so bad I kind of stop caring. As far as I’m concerned, Spider-Man lost. This is the kind of cataclysm he’s supposed to prevent. This reminds me of the destructive brawl Superman had in Man of Steel. The fantasy of thwarting evil is gone. Sure, Spider-Man saves the city later, but that doesn’t fix the fact that so many people died under his watch.

This looks like it should be the GAME OVER screen, but it isn't.
This looks like it should be the GAME OVER screen, but it isn't.

Maybe a disaster of this scale might work as a dark turn in the second entry of a trilogy, but as the introduction of a new franchise it’s incredibly off-putting to me. I know how producers think and I know they feel compelled to constantly go “bigger” and “more epic” and to continually raise the stakes. I’m really not looking forward to the “more epic” version of a citywide pandemic + prison escape + brutalist police state + Sinister Six rampage in the eventual sequel.

This compulsion to constantly go bigger is what turned the final Arkham game into such a bloated mess. At least Batman started small-scale and worked up to ridiculous over the course of four games. Spider-Man is starting with a massive doomsday threat that kills thousands, so there isn’t a lot of room for them to scale up from here without getting into problems that are too big for Spider-Man’s world.

I realize this is a matter of taste and I’m sure lots of people will enjoy this “darker” take on a Spider-Man story, but for me the game has refused to deliver on the central thing I look for in Spider-Man: I want the hero to save the day. If I wanted to see the hero fail I’d turn to Watchmen, and if I wanted to see the quasi-hero avenge the fallen I’d turn to PunisherOkay, I can’t actually do that because they aren’t making Punisher games. But they should!. To me Spider-Man is a guy who saves the day at great cost to himself and with little thanks from the public. If you take away the “saving the day” aspect of the story then it’s just wallowing in misery. No thanks.

The next section of the game is going to have a lot of punching. We need to fight strongholds of prisoners, Sable bases, and six supervillains. So I guess now is a good time to talk about…

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Spider-Man Part 20: The Pugilist Spider-Man”



Stadia’s Pricing Model Will Ultimately Be Its Downfall

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Jul 10, 2019

Filed under: Column 184 comments

The topic of my column this week is, shockingly enough, described by the title. Stadia makes no sense. Even if Google has truly invented a way to magically solve the latency issues inherent with cloud gaming, this is not something anyone needs. I think their target market is, “People who have top-tier internet, who never have to share internet with housemates, who love gaming but are unwilling to buy dedicated gaming hardware, who own multiple non-gaming devices and want to switch between them at random times while hanging around the house.”

Are there enough of those people to form a customer base? I can’t see how. I don’t think there even enough of those people to fill a Prius.

Based on what we’ve been shown, I think the ideal user of Stadia is, “Person who wants to show off cloud gaming on the stage at E3.” So far that’s just one guy, and I’m pretty sure he’s not a paying customer.

A couple of mop-up points in response to the comments at the Escapist:

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Stadia’s Pricing Model Will Ultimately Be Its Downfall”



Proc-gen ShipShip

By Paul Spooner Posted Tuesday Jul 9, 2019

Filed under: Programming 32 comments

So far in this series I’ve played with circles and squares in an attempt to explore the range of spaceship designs that look good. Well, maybe “good” is too strong a term. Look not terrible. That look, let’s say, unoffensive in the context of a low-budget star-field.

Let’s talk about the starfield, actually. It’s just a big sphere with a couple particle systems attached to it. There’s a “clumping” setting in Blender that gives it a little texture, and that’s it! Well, I also added a few smudgy galaxies too. I’d like to put some nebulae in as well, but who has time for that? We’re not here for stars! We’re here for starships in space! Spaceships among the stars!

Still could use some nebulae, but otherwise perfect. Okay! Let's never use this background again.
Still could use some nebulae, but otherwise perfect. Okay! Let's never use this background again.

Ideally, though, these ships would be recognizable in another context, like a planet or a hanger or underwater. So that’s what this article is about. We’re going to address the other half of the word. Being in spaceor in the context of stars isn’t enough. We’re going to need to look something like a ship. We’re going to need the stuff I was talking about at the end of the last article:

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Proc-gen ShipShip”



Diecast #264: Sethian, Satisfactory, Mailbag

By Shamus Posted Monday Jul 8, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 64 comments

Another wrinkle in the adventure to get the RSS feed working: As I’ve said before, the only way to get the podcast RSS to do its job is to place a link to the show somewhere in the post. I normally generate the boilerplate stuff (like the media player you see below) using shortcode and it creates the links for me. But the RSS generator doesn’t see these auto-generated links, so it doesn’t know this is a podcast. To get around this, I must manually put a fully qualified link using raw HTML in the post body. That’s annoying and will cause chaos if the URL of this site ever changes, but fine.

But I also don’t want 2 identical links to the same audio file. (The auto-generated one, and the manual one I’m forced to add.) That would be confusing for the end user. To get around this, I make the manual link invisible by making it a single empty space. This means it isn’t visible to the user, which is fine since it only exists for the benefit of the dumbass RSS generator.


The newer versions of WordPress have made the editor “smarter”. Now it sees an empty invisible link, concludes that’s a mistake, and then silently deletes it from the post. I feel like I’m actively fighting the system all the time like this, where I have to come up with workarounds to protect my other workarounds because the system is trying to do my thinking for me.

Sigh. I don’t know. Maybe the RSS feed will work this week. Maybe it won’t. I did what I could.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

This link exists only so the stupid RSS generator will do its job.

Show notes: Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #264: Sethian, Satisfactory, Mailbag”