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Tagged with “game” (28)

  1. Diecast #219: Andromeda, Dark Souls, Spec Ops - Twenty Sided

    BlueBlazeSpear says:

    Monday Jul 23, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    My biggest problem with the characters of Mass Effect: Andromeda is that they’re completely unnecessary to the story. Remove any of them and replace them with some nameless peon and the game isn’t really affected all that much. Even Jaal could’ve been replaced by a nondescript Angaran. What’s weird is that the characters are supposed to be the face of this whole new world and they don’t even meet the minimum requirement of fleshing out the world. Compare what we learn of Andromeda’s world-state from these characters over the course of the entire game versus what we can learn about of ME1’s world state right at the beginning of the game in walking the deck from Joker to the comm room.

    Their jobs barely seem to even line up with the goals and tasks of the Andromeda Initiative. We take on Vetra because she’s a smuggler, but as far as I can tell, we never use her smuggling skills. PeeBee is all about the Remnant tech and all that comes of that is a secondary drone and a “core collection” quest that doesn’t lead anywhere. Drack… I guess we have the mutual goal of wanting to kick ass? The more I played, the more I got the feeling that the Milky Way was just purging its losers and it was proven true by having the Initiative immediately implode upon arrival. I liked that Alec Ryder seemed competent and he wasn’t always cracking wise like everyone else, but then spoiler he dies off screen and his child – for whom he died – doesn’t seem particularly broken up about it.

    There were tons of possibilities here too. Jaal could’ve been our window into this new and exotic life that we’re only just now discovering. But instead, his people are pretty much like us and their problems look a lot like ours and we have to believe that they’re hyper-emotional because they keep telling us they are without ever showing it. They suffer from what in fantasy writing is called “the elf problem.” Because in that case, if the elves are just humans with pointy ears, then why make them elves at all other than because they’re all sizzle and no bacon? And it’s a pretty big deal that there was a mutiny on the Nexus and a sizeable portion of the people were thrown off the station. We had characters that could’ve exemplified both sides of that conflict, but it feels like it’s barely touched upon, despite it being a defining moment. Often, I found myself wondering “Why are these characters even here?” and I never came up with a compelling answer.

    The Andromeda menu system was such a mess. It was impressive the number of clicks it took just to do the simplest of things. The “research and development” of weapons and armors was an unintuitive slog that I still don’t think I fully understand. And I never used the profile “favorites” because it was just cumbersome enough to not be useful. It was amazing how deeply buried even the most basic information always seemed to be.

    My first attempt at the game was me trying to be a tech-based sniper and I quickly learned how un-viable and not-fun it was and I quickly abandoned it. Maybe it becomes more viable as you unlock skills? I just know that in the few places that I used it, I virtually never had a good scoped shot and I did all of my firing from the hip and did most of my damage via powers. To me, that’s what can make the action in the game fun – finding the right powers that feel fun and satisfying and getting to a point where you can spam them pretty regularly.

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  2. Diecast #201: Another Funeral for Mass Effect - Twenty Sided

    Echo Tango says:

    Monday Mar 12, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Since the original Mass Effect hasn’t had anything take its place, I’m going to play make-believe for a game in this unfilled niche. Since no AAA studios seem to want to tackle this, I’ll assume that this needs to be a smaller game, but large enough and shiny enough to be relatively satisfying. (Text adventures aren’t going to scratch the ME1 itch!) First, I’ll aim for a budget of a million bucks, and three years. That would work out to a maximum of 6 people’s salaries, assuming they’re living in Saskatoon (where I live) or Pennsylvania (I believe Shamus lives / lived here). This might not be “ideal” locations for game dev, but we’re going for budget. If the money’s being burned too quickly in year one, we’re firing the least senior person, and moving to the nearest relative’s farm, to live in the barn with the cows (we’ll buy a wi-fi repeater, so it reaches to our smelly office).

    Now for the actual game. Cartoony graphics like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Borderlands 1, XIII, or Windwaker. We’ll buy pre-made assets for most of the stuff in the game, and run it through a script to make everything the same low- or medium-level polygon count, and have the game apply toon-shading on the fly with graphics-card shaders. (This will also keep our system requirements relatively low.) The main characters, statues, and primary locations will have hand-made 3D models. Pre-made music will be our soundtrack – if Kevin Macleod is good enough for the Diecast credits music, it’s good enough for this game! The game world will be made like System Shock 1, or Minecraft, out of blocks. (This will help a lot with our budget.) All terrain, buildings, and doors will be destructible, like X-COM. Unlike X-COM, we’ll throw in some basic physics from an off-the-shelf physics engine, to have things tumble into a pile of debris, for any blocks that aren’t outright destroyed. After the animation / physics is done, they become blocks again, so that players can traverse them without the physics engine going bananas. This will allow brute-force solutions, like exploding doors, or tunneling into the secret base that you couldn’t sneak, bribe, or seduce your way into.

    Most of the story will be told with crappy text boxes, like Faster Than Light, Into The Breach, or System Shock. If budget permits, we’ll make a few in-engine cutscenes, with voice-over from the nearest starving voice-actor. Since we’re doing most everything in text, we can have lots of branches and dead-ends in our conversations, like the main areas of Fallout 1 & 2. We can also have lots of side-quests, like the Fallouts, and Mass Effect 1. Skill points will be kept small, like Darkest Dungeon, Into The Breach, or Mass Effect 1. To keep this matched up with the story, there will be some countdown on the main quest, like dwindling water supply at home, or some invading force. This let’s us keep everything balance-able, and lets us focus on interesting stories / simulation of the game world. Once the quest is done, or time limit reached, queue voice-over ala Fallout 1, minus the expensive Mr. Perlman. :)

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  3. Immersive Sim Roundtable

    Waren Spector, Harvey Smith, Steve Gaynor


    Tagged with pc gamer

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  4. Remaster #26: The Nintendo Switch Presentation - Relay FM

    Myke, Federico, and Shahid break down Nintendo’s Switch presentation.

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  5. Episode 20: Thomas Grip & JT Petty | Script Lock

    Thomas and JT join us to discuss the Four Layers of Narrative Design, mistaking plot for story, how controllers affect the narrative, goals of storytelling, VR skepticism, the relation between narrative systems and emotional impact, Silent Hill, what a lack of combat can do for you, the lessons developers can learn from horror, and much more!

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  6. Diecast #161: Death Road to Canada, FTL, Starbound - Twenty Sided

    IFS says:

    August 1, 2016 at 11:08 am

    The systems inherent to any video game do pose a problem to making a foe incomprehensible but only on a purely gameplay level and I think you can make a foe that comes across as unknowable on a story level if you try. Bloodborne is a great example of Lovecraftian themes in a video game so I’ll use that as an example for a way you can do some things right.

    Spoilers for Bloodborne Below:

    In Bloodborne you spend the first half or so of the game pitted against a very gothic horror setting. Werewolves, corrupt elite, and diseased angry masses make up the threats you face but the game also steadily hints that there is something more. You find odd statues and disturbing statues in a church, you make note of a steadily increasing insight stat that you don’t understand, and you might be briefly abducted by some sort of unseen cult lurking in the shadows.

    Then you reach Byrgenwerth and everything changes. You encounter Rom in a strange realm beneath a lake and the veil is lifted. Now suddenly you can see the grasping horrors hiding in plain sight, they were always there and maybe you even encountered them before but now you can see them. Various Nightmare realms open up as you progress and encounter ever more twisted horrors, leading into a question of how much of Yharnam itself is a Nightmare rather than reality.

    The ending is what really drives this home though as you return to the Hunter’s Dream which has been your safe home for the duration of the game. You approach Gherman who in some ways has been the gatekeeper of the truth of things, he knows more than you from the beginning and does not share it instead guiding you with occasional remarks and directions. He offers to free you from the Dream, and should you accept you awake in Yharnam in the morning once more blissfully ignorant of the Eldritch Truth you uncovered, you reject the knowledge of the Great Ones to avoid madness (and indeed Gherman’s reaction to you refusing his offer indicates that he thinks you’ve gone mad). Should you refuse you fight Gherman and eventually defeat him (or quit the game I suppose) you inherit his knowledge, a previously unseen (but hinted at) Great One descends and you are enraptured by it. You don’t understand it (though I’m sure the fandom has theories) and it drives you mad, it leaves you largely catatonic and taking the place of Gherman. Both of these endings seem to imply that the Hunt will continue, that even with all you accomplished there is an uncaring cycle that will go on.

    But there is another way, if you’ve gained enough insight through a series of items of rather disturbing origin your character (not you the player) has the knowledge and understanding to stand against this Great One. It is not incomprehensible to them and they are able to reject and defeat it and in doing so are changed. An important part of Lovecraft is how attempting to understand the unknowable changes people, often driving them mad but other times giving them access to dream realms and mysterious powers, and in this case your character is transformed both by their knowledge and their victory into another Great One. This is the only ending that seems to be implied to break the cycle but it replaces that existential horror with the fact that your character is no longer human, they’ve become something other that you no longer understand.

    Now you could argue that Bloodborne isn’t a horror game (though it is undeniably horror themed) due to its gameplay falling squarely into action RPG territory but I think it does an excellent job (though certainly not perfect) of incorporating Lovecraftian themes including such pivotal moments as that revelation of the eldritch truth. It also has some really interesting subversions of Lovecraft in other ways but I’ve already written more than enough on the subject.

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  7. Diecast #138: Pony Island, Dragon’s Dogma - Twenty Sided

    Vermander says:

    January 25, 2016 at 10:47 am

    I loved the character creation in Dragon’s Dogma but hated almost everything else. I found the huge number of respawning monsters especially frustrating. The game world was visually interesting, but it was virtually impossible to explore it without constantly being attacked by mobs of wolves, bandits or goblins. Every inch of the countryside seemed to be swarming with monsters. This problem was made even worse by the fact that there was extremely limited fast travel, a very small number of towns, and a high number of escort missions.

    I also really wish they had made more of an effort to explain the “pawns” and address some of the unsettling issues surrounding them. The game presents them as essentially being a “slave race” who look and sound human, but have no souls and no free will. You create your own custom slave and then order them to do whatever you command, and even occasionally loan them out to other players. They even call you master. Fortunately the game never goes into truly creepy territory with this, but the implications are still pretty disturbing.

    I think it would have been less unsettling if the pawns were rock golems, or robots, or non-sapient animals, but the fact that they look and sound exactly like normal humans makes it pretty clear that these are slaves.

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  8. Diecast #135: 2016 - Twenty Sided

    The official bylaws of All Internet Videogames Discussion dictate that December is the month of looking back and January is the month of looking forward. So we made this episode to bring our podcast into compliance. Also because we didn’t have anything else to discuss. Also because we actually wanted to talk about these games. Also because it was the only way to get Josh to shut up about Crusader Kings.

    Related: Look at this post from last January where I looked ahead to 2015.

    Direct download (MP3)Direct download (ogg Vorbis)Podcast RSS feed.Direct link to this episode.

    Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster.

    Episode edited by Rachel.

    2:15: No Mans Sky.

    We also talk about Fuel and procedurally generated games.

    7:47: Dues Ex: Mankind Divided

    We got pretty negative here, but for the record I don’t think this game is going to be a disaster. I just think that by continuing the timeline the game is walling itself off from greater things.

    21:03: Horizon: Zero Dawn

    Is it too late to change the name? Or at least pick one of the two?

    27:58: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

    39:10: XCom 2

    46:46: Firewatch

    49:17: Hitman

    Josh and I have a little debate about which is worse: Hitman Absolution or The Phantom Menace. I maintain that Phantom Menace is a bad movie, but nowhere near the horrible movie its reputation suggests.

    MovieBob has a pretty good take on this:

    Link (YouTube)But it’s STAR WARS. So when you get a crappy Star Wars it hurts. Not because the movie is bad, but because it means we won’t be getting the awesome movie we’d hoped for. So I get why people feel so much hate for it.

    57:47: Quantum Break1:02:36: Doom 4

    I promised I’d link The Writer Will Do Something. But I can’t remember which show segment. So I’m linking it now, and also two sentences ago because I’m WAY ahead of you.Enjoyed this post? Please share!

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  9. Diecast #133: Disney, Mailbag - Twenty Sided

    No Star Wars talk this week. It’s a little too soon. But I suspect next week will be the big spoiler discussion. Be ready!

    Direct download (MP3)Direct download (ogg Vorbis)Podcast RSS feed.Direct link to this episode.

    Hosts: Josh, Shamus, Campster,


    Episode edited by Rachel.

    Show notes:

    00:00:45: Disney Land vs. Disney World

    Mumbles went on her honeymoon last week, and she went to Disney Land / World. I said I didn’t know the difference. So she explained.

    I still don’t know the difference. She tried.

    00:29:51: Voice acting and realism

    Dear Diecast:

    Though Dark Souls is known for being hard, it is also known for its aesthetic. One aspect where I really appreciated the attention to detail was in the voice acting for the player character: In most games, when the player character gets hurt, you hear a fairly unbelieveable “ouch” or “oof” just to alert you, but Dark Souls makes it sound like your character is really in pain! (Particularly if you choose a female character)

    Do you think other games are as deliberate about not doing what Dark Souls is deliberate about doing? Obviously we don’t want to be seriously concerned about, say, Mario’s wellbeing when he touches a goomba, but in the endless supply of World War 2 shooters, the voice acting is suprisingly lacking. Is this an example of most games failing to be realistic, or an example where we really shouldn’t have realism as a goal?


    00:38:12: Warming up for the show

    Dear Diecast:

    You’ve described the origins of the Diecast as a warmup before Spoiler Warning. Now that the Diecast has proven successful and taken on a life of its own, do you need a warmup for the warmup?


    00:41:20: KOTOR remake?

    @nicemovemumbles should they do an hd remake of kotor

    — Val (@teensith) December 20, 2015

    00:44:41: You knew exactly what you were doing When you asked this question, Arron.

    @nicemovemumbles Where would the Spoiler Warning Crew like to set next Fallout game? And what region-specific things would they like to see?

    — Arron Shutt (@arron_shutt) December 20, 2015

    01:00:45: Trapped on a desert island with…

    @nicemovemumbles (for the whole cast) You’re trapped on a desert island with 1 Dragon Age companion. Which one?

    — Alex K (@StoopidTallKid) December 20, 2015

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  10. Direct link to this episode

    Thanks so much to

    Pushing Up Roses for being on the show.

    Direct link to this episode.Direct download (MP3)Direct download (ogg Vorbis)Podcast RSS feed.

    Hosts: Shamus, Pushing Up Roses, Campster, Rutskarn, and Josh.

    Show notes:

    1:20: Voice Acting

    Roses was the lead in Serena. She also has other projects in the works, and here we talk about the logistics of indie voice acting.

    9:00: I Have no Mouth and I Must Scream

    After this recording, I picked up this game on GoG. I’m less than an hour in, but I will say I’m sorry I overlooked this for so many years. If I had just glanced at the back of the box or read the synopsis I’d probably have picked it up. Ah well.

    17:45 King’s Quest Reboot

    Here is Roses’ review of the game. I’ll also talk about it in this week’s Experienced Points column.

    Link (YouTube)34:44 Mattress

    43:00 What pre-1995 games would you like to see get a remake / reboot / revival / rehash?

    This question goes for everyone in the comments as well.

    56:00 Windows 10 Minutes of Monologue

    Discuss: Why is Microsoft pushing so hard to give this away? What’s their plan for the future?Share this Post:

    Tagged:kings quest, retro games, windows

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