Gotham Knights: Batman is Dead

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Sep 1, 2020

Filed under: Column 139 comments

The trailer for the upcoming Gotham Knights dropped last week. It leads off with a video of Bruce Wayne saying, “If you’re watching this, I’m dead.” As of this writing, there are about 11,000 comments on that video and the vast majority of them are some variation of, “Yeah suuure he is. I’ll believe it when we see the body.”

But while I’m sure everyone is correct and the most profitable superhero of all time is still alive, I think it’s safe to say that the Batman I loved – The ARKHAM Batman – is super-dead.

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Diecast #314: Decaffeinated Die Cast

By Shamus Posted Monday Aug 31, 2020

Filed under: Diecast 55 comments

My plan was to do as many mailbag questions as possible, but then Paul asked about my programmingAnd he only did so because I put it in the topic list. and I spent half of this episode talking about coding, gamedev, and Blender. 

Also, I should warn you that I was running on half-brainpower because I am once again giving up caffeine. I was a bit of a stumble-brain during the show. Please pretend you noticed so I don’t have to worry that I’m actually this stupid all the time.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

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Jedi Fallen Order Part 4: Buddy Droid One

By Shamus Posted Thursday Aug 27, 2020

Filed under: Retrospectives 113 comments

Once the bad guys have killed Prauf and blind luckDid I say “blind luck”? My mistake. I meant “The Force”. saved Cal from picking a fight he can’t possibly win, we end up in an Uncharted-style set-piece chase sequence. Cal has to make his way to the front of a speeding train while a fighter ship flies by and pounds the train with blaster fire. Inside the train he’s got stormtroopers shooting at himThis is the lightsaber vs. trooper combat tutorial. and on the outside he has to contend with the ever-changing geography of this train as it gradually disintegrates from the attack. Eventually we wind up with cars hanging the wrong way off the track, forcing Cal to continually improvise. There’s also another ship in the area, flying close and trying to help him, but he doesn’t know who they are or how they fit into this chaos.

The whole thing is really impressive. I imagine scenes like this are where a lot of those lavish EA dollars got spent.

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Epic is Not the Hero

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Aug 25, 2020

Filed under: Column 271 comments

So Epic Games is in the news again. This time they’ve picked a fight with Apple and Google. That’s fine. Both companies are very worthy targets, but I don’t have much else to say about the lawsuit itself. This story is evolving by the day, and I make videos much too slowly to keep up with fast-paced stories like this. 

The interesting thing is Epic’s Nineteen-Eighty Fortnite campaign, which tries to rally users to their cause. They even have the #FreeFortnite hashtag, but it’s not about making Fortnite free for us, it’s about making the Apple store free to use for Fortnite.

This is not the first time the company has tried to frame simple corporate business tactics as something brave or heroic. 

I don’t know Epic CEO Tim Sweeney and even though I disagree with him on many things, I don’t have anything personally against him. But whether he intends it or not, the way he carries himself on social media makes it feel like he thinks he’s the hero because other people are worse. It actually reminds me of Jack from the Borderlands series: 

Whatever, John.
Whatever, John.

Jack will do something self-serving and deeply frustrating to people and then assume he’s the hero because some of his foes are bad actors, and then he acts like everyone should worship his “heroics”. 

Link (YouTube)

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Ding 49!

By Shamus Posted Monday Aug 24, 2020

Filed under: Landmarks 96 comments

Well, this is mildly terrifying. This will either be the last year of my life that I spend under 50, or the last year of my life. I’m not excited by either prospect.

In the younger days of this site I had lots of stories about my personal life. These days it feels like all of my personal anecdotes are health-related. 

“Man, I’m having a great day! My knees hurt less than usual, I nearly got a full night of sleep, my blood pressure is down from “life-threatening” to “a serious problem”, and I’m gaining weight slower than I was yesterday. I figure if I watch my meds and eat only salads, I can probably survive to the end of the week!”  

I’m kidding, I’m kidding. 

I never have days that good anymore.

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Jedi Fallen Order Part 3: A Scrappy Duo

By Shamus Posted Thursday Aug 20, 2020

Filed under: Retrospectives 123 comments

Like I said in the last entry, this game doesn’t start with the standard opening crawl. Instead it has a huge ship flying overhead at a low angle. Is this a repeat of the opening shot of A New Hope? Nope! It’s a fake-out. This ship is a hollowed-out junker, being hauled off to be disassembled. The camera pulls back to reveal a vast scrapyard. 

Perhaps worried that people will freak out over the lack of opening crawl, the designer decided to make this vista as “Star Wars”-y as physically possible. Tie fighters scream by and we pan down to see the outlines of various recognizable capital ships from the movies. Then a probe droid drifts by and we follow it to meet our characters. The only way to make this shot more reassuringly Star Wars would be to have the droid humming the cantina music and carrying a wookiee sidekick with a lightsaber.

Don’t freak out kids! You didn’t get an opening crawl, but this is still Star Wars!

What's wrong with your FACE?
What's wrong with your FACE?

We meet Prauf, a burly alien dude and his buddy Cal. They seem to be low-level scrap workers of some kind. We can tell right away that Cal is our protagonist because…

  1. He’s a fit, vaguely photogenic young adult named “Cal”. 
  2. He’s the only human around in this vast landscape of droids and aliens, and everyone knows that only humans are special enough to be the protagonist.
  3. His face is on the goddamn box. Are you blind?

The foreman (or whatever) orders our duo to go to some dangerous place and fix some random thing so we can get our movement tutorials out of the way.

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Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020: First Impressions

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Aug 19, 2020

Filed under: Column 66 comments

Well, I’ve been waiting for this game since E3 2019. I was hooked on the promise of a new game from AsoboYou might remember them as the team that made FUEL, which I and six other people really liked.. I was even more hooked on the idea of a game that covers the entire planet using satellite data and buildings generated by machine learning. 

The reviews on Steam are a mess. Apparently Steam just downloads an installer, and that installer downloads the game from Microsoft. This means you can’t properly pre-load the game, which means the Microsoft servers will get completely slammed at launch. Going by the reviews, this is exactly what happened.


Moreover, this is a huge game. It’s ~127GB! It will probably take you more than two hours to download the dang thing. Since Steam launches the launcher, Steam thinks you’re “playing the game” while this launcher is running. Thus, by the time the game is downloaded you’ll have in excess of two hours of “playtime”. That’s long enough to burn through your allotted playtime, so that Steam won’t allow refunds.

Microsoft is basically doing the Uplay thing where they shove their shitty platform inside of Steam. This means you need to login to Microsoft Xbox for PC Xbox Games on Windows for PC, or whatever the fuck this ridiculous contraption is called. That’s exactly the thing I wanted to avoid by getting it on Steam.

I can’t get around using Microsoft services, so I might as well get it from Microsoft directly

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