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  1. Today
  2. Episode 447: Tactical Management Games

    The men of War series is the first thing to come to my mind for real-time tactics.
  3. Photos of things

    Gosh, the colours on those photos are amazing. The combination of the washed-out blueish light and the yellow/orange safety vest is :chefkiss:
  4. Episode 447: Tactical Management Games

    There are plenty of those and I was surprised Rowan doesn't know any beyond XCOM Apocalypse. But there were few great ones, if any. First there's that whole UFO series, which tried to reinvent XCOM before Firaxis did it. It was more similar to XCOM2 story-wise and it has nice story ideas. For the first part of the game you only fought mutated humans, then you fought few aliens - some even joined you. Then aliense started terraforming the planet and even stranger mutants appeared. It had a nice weapon variety, research and character progression, air fight was abstracted and you controlled only one of the teams, there were others who helped your cause too. Then there was a lot of stuff like E5. Basically realtime Jagged Alliance.
  5. Building a Library of Images for Everyone

    Hey guys, A bunch of nice seamless moss images are ready that might work as building blocks for ground cover: TXR - GROUND I've also had requests for cartoon-style textures, mostly for 2D games and visual novels, so here's a start to that: TXR - BRICK - Cartoon TXR - ROCK/STONE - Cartoon TXR - WOOD - Cartoon More new music tracks will be ready Wednesday as I continue my quest to provide looping versions of every track on my site, so be sure to check my other thread. Have a good week! :-)
  6. Yesterday
  7. One tension running under several of the themes discussed is that between narrative and system, or in broader terms borrowed from structural linguistics, diachrony and synchrony, where diachrony refers to the temporal progression of history (the narrative of change) and synchrony to the snapshot of a language at a particular time (system). This tension underlies, for instance, the difference in opinion about the story missions in Battletech: one of the panelists said something very interesting in that the story missions seemed, to him, to be interruptions in the management of a space mercenary group. This would imply that it's not the quality of the story missions that is in question, but rather their existence at all. This panelist (sorry, I'm bad with names) would thus valorise the system (a synchronic set of rules that do not change and thus can be manipulated) over narration (the diachronic dimension which is change as such, by definition). There was also a brief mention of how the map in JA2 is not procedurally generated. This can again be seen in terms of the system-narration distinction: a non-procedural map in games can be understood as a narration projected onto a plane, because the player's experience changes as the map is traversed in a way that is ultimately to some degree arbitrary and not rule-bound, whereas procedural generation, even when it creates a map across which the player's experience changes, creates changes according to rules, and is thus still ultimately a product of system. The interesting tension between system and narration perhaps speaks to a certain kind of historiography which has aspirations of becoming more like the rigorous sciences, a historiography that seeks to create systems out of the narrative of history. (PS: Signing up for the Idle Thumbs network with "Three Moves Ahead" as the answer to the security question doesn't seem to work.)
  8. Episode 447: Tactical Management Games

    I'd love to hear some examples of Real-Time games in this subgenre, if there are any. I know it was covered a little towards the end, but I think the main issue was missed: once you remove full control from the player, they'll blame the system anytime mistakes happen. Imagine a real-time XCOM - if a trooper took a stray bullet because they moved because of another soldier's path-finding, would you care? But when you order the move in XCOM, then you feel the consequences as they happen. One of my biggest issue with the current turn based model is the time investment. Someone mentioned 400+ hours on the podcast. In my experience, turn-based games often lead to longer playtimes and repetitive turns. Should it really take that length of time to get the full experience in Darkest Dungeon? Or could we manage to deliver it in half or even a quarter as long? If we could, this would have tremendous benefits to both designers and players. But another issue was also mentioned in the podcast - once turn based, there seems to be an inevitable shift to a puzzle-like gameplay, but that personally does very little for me. Elegant puzzle games are all well and good, but there's a wealth of experiences you can only get in real-time. I feel a sense of dread in XCOM, but it rarely feels frantic like a chaotic gunfight should. I think there are ways to resolve this issue. I haven't seen any fundamental problems with a real-time concept. But I haven't seen many medium/big games attempt it. The only one that comes to mind is Total War (if you count it) and that continues to have ongoing mechanical issues 15+ years after the first game came out. Are there any others? P.S. I share Rob's uncomfortable response when the discussion of "rage quitting only to return tomorrow" comes up. Games that encourage this end up relying on addictive mechanics that we should be moving far away from, and never looking back to.
  9. RTX 2000 series GPUs

    My 1080 does 1440/144 perfectly fine i think 1080Tis can do 4k at 60
  10. Last week
  11. One other type of sub-genre that I feel kind falls under the tactical management category (or perhaps it’s just and edge-case?), are the more combat-focused 4X games like the Age of Wonders and Warlock series. I feel like the developers in both those series put just as much attention towards combat and units as they do the strategy layer. The strategy layer in both series is obviously empire management as opposed to something like base management, but you’re still growing your empire in order to make your units more powerful. Losing a unit in a 4X game probably isn’t quite as bad as in a game like XCOM, but it really sucks to lose a unit that you’ve leveled up a lot, or if you were to lose a higher tier unit that took a lot of time and resources to build. While the more combat-focused 4X games have the most fun combat within the genre, the diplomacy aspect of the strategic layer seems to suffer and that’s usually the biggest criticism of those types of games from players who want a more robust diplomacy system. I don’t mind as much though as I’m usually just out for blood. The upcoming Age of Wonders: Planetfall looks to blur the lines even more with it’s XCOM-like combat and I believe it’s campaign mode will use the random map generator as opposed to static maps. Speaking of which, random map generators are another system that probably gets as many resources thrown at it as the strategy and combat layers of the game. Or perhaps the map layer is just considered part of the strategy layer. Either way, when done right, I think terrestrial-based 4X games have the prettiest and most interesting maps in gaming.
  12. Photos of things

    The company I work for recently hired a new marketing person to generate both internal and external media & marketing content. She's been nice enough to invite me out on several outings as our company's drone pilot. I want one of these dang things so bad.
  13. Telltale Games is closing down, apparently

    Jake and Sean, today I finally understand why Valve's security seemed so attractive to you. To the Fietzek brothers, thank you for those videos, they brought me so much joy. If you ever make a Kickstarter... Andrej-Wolfie, your immeasurable talent should have ruled out Ubisoft game tester. Really hoping things look up for you. Alan, you had to take that comment down back then, it was too negative after all. You were awesome at your job. I'm sorry we missed meeting by a hairline. Michael, you were the best community manager, for giving mods way more insight than we probably should have had, but also for being an axe and not a scalpel at a time of crisis. Andy, I really hope health things got better. You did amazing, consistent (and FREE) tech support work for Telltale for years. They should have offered you the world for it. Mark, last man standing at Telltale, thanks for meeting up at gamescom all those years back. You're still one of the nicest people I've ever met. Sarah, the valiant Mrs. Text-to-Speech, I'd love to hear what you're up to these days. Jared, you're one of the most talented composers out there. I really hope you can continue your work with as diverse applications as at the beginning of the great Telltale journey. Video-Shaun, it’s incredible what you achieved with what little you had at your disposal. I’m still a big fan of you. I hope you get to use those indie talents again. And the kung fu. And good luck with the kid, Laura. I really hope you're happy.
  14. Most people will remember this studio for The Walking Dead, I guess, but my enduring memories will be of cow races, freelance police, Strong Bad, puzzle agents and a satisfying fifth Monkey Island installment I never thought I'd get. I still have and cherish my Sam & Max case file, my Jared Emerson-Johnson soundtrack CDs and my collector's edition big boxes. I still treasure my copy of the Surfin' the Highway re-release which was manifestly a labor of love. I still remember those early launch day rituals, where Emily and Jake and Tabacco would politely field anguished questions about what time the new Sam & Max episode would drop while they (I imagined) kept humming servers from melting down with a cartoon-sized bellows at half-past midnight. Those early days were a blast to follow. As with LucasArts, the actual shuttering of Telltale comes years after they stopped making games that interested me, but I will always remember the studio for its best work and will always be grateful to the individuals responsible for it. There's a hell of a lot of quality in that library, and I'm furiously re-downloading all my old purchases while I still can. To anyone reading this who helped generate those good times, thank you. They meant a lot to me.
  15. RTX 2000 series GPUs

    Yeah the lack of supported games day 1 is a real shame. I saw one reviewer put it along the lines of "it's like if a car company had reviewers test a new race car, but the track wasn't ready so everyone was stuck doing laps around the parking lot." I think it really doesn't make sense for most people to upgrade right now, given the very costly increase in performance compared to the Pascal lineup ($/FPS gain is very high going from 1xxx to 2xxx compared to almost any earlier generation). However, if you simply want to hit 1440/144 or 4k/60 it seems like you really don't have much of an option... you just have to pay a (pretty ridiculous and frankly unfair) premium to do so. Unfortunately for my wallet, I think I am in the latter camp as I have both a 1440/144 and 4k/60 display that my current 970 weeps trying to power.
  16. Recently completed video games

    Here's something that should be right up most Idle Thumbers' alleys. Florence, the latest game from the folks behind Monument Valley. It's short but sweet. Well worth picking up for anyone who has an iOS/Android device, 4 bucks, and a heart. Uhhh what else have I played recently lets see Dishonored 2 - GOOD! Budget Cuts - flawed but occasionally great. Distance - very cool!
  17. Mass Effect Andromeda - Thumb Drive Engaged!

    Indeed, that joy refuses to arrive. I'm through more than half of the game, and have seen some of what made heart and soul of the predecessors for me: The companion loyalty missions. Of course, here they're taking, proportionately, much less time as compared to the total playing time. Those that I played do put a fair bit of effort in, but still feel awkward especially in comparison to Mass Effect 2.
  18. Hey guys, I figured this would be as good a place as any to ask: I'm trying to find video of Sean and Jake on stage at the Spike VGA in 2012 receiving the GOTY award for The Walking Dead (season 1). The closest I've been able to find is this 30-second clip of Sean speaking, which has really muffled audio and doesn't include the preceding moments (where I believe Robert Kirkman was actually the one to initially accept the award), I was hoping to find the full video in better quality.
  19. Photos of things

    Hi, folks. Testing the Tamron 15-30 f/2.8 on a Canon 5D MkIV:
  20. That is so accurate. In my early twenties I was just capable enough to make some good stuff, but not yet wise enough to know how much of it was crap so I avoided self-censoring. Now I just second guess anything that my brain cooks up, killing it in the proverbial cradle.
  21. RTX 2000 series GPUs

    The lack of games that support ray tracing right now is sort of hilarious to me, not sure why NVIDIA didn't wait since they are already so far ahead of the competition. I am interested what the frame rate and resolution numbers are going to be with ray tracing on. I get the feeling that they will be pretty low by today's high end graphics standards, but maybe NVIDIA will surprise me. I got a 1080 a few months ago so I'm not really looking to upgrade anyway, if ray tracing gets widespread adoption and seems worth it perhaps I will get the next generation of cards the 2010s or 3000s depending on how the new naming convention goes.
  22. Episode 447: Tactical Management Games

    As always Rob is right about XCOM2 being schizophrenic. There are so many options for improving bad situation, there's memorial for the fallen - but in reality you should just reload when you lose someone. First encounter with Mimic or that duplicating digital thing will almost certainly cost you whole game if you don't know what's coming. Because you'll have a very good chance of getting sudden death and a whole in your defense, then panic kicks in and everything is on fire. Massive Chalice, for example, was much better as an Iron Man game. Because it knew it's mostly strategy, and the whole bloodline system was about people dying whatever you do, the idea of acceptable losses was central to the experience. It didn't just tease you with an idea of comeback the way XCOM2 does. Maybe it's an inferior game but it feels made for players, not for streamers who already know the game and either spectacularly fail or juggle all the elements to win for the enjoyment of the audience.
  23. Three Moves Ahead 447: Tactical Management Games This week features a veritable smorgasbord of strategy games as we try and define the Tactical Management Game. It's not quite a management sim and not quite a tactical strategy game. We're looking for games that include a deep strategic or base building layer that also allow you to call some of the proverbial and literal shots. From sports management games to ironman-roguelike-procedurally-generated-party-combat romps, there's a lot of ground to cover. So listen in as Rob, Rowan, Heather Alexandra, and Boudreau get into defining Rowan's white whale of genres. XCOM, FTL, Darkest Dungeon, Battletech, Massive Chalice, Battle Brothers, Football Manager, Endless Legend, Mount & Blade, Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock, Valkyria Chronicles 4, Jagged Alliance, Invisible, Inc. Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  24. RTX 2000 series GPUs

    Has anyone been paying attention to the hubbub surrounding the RTX 2080 and 2080 ti? This ars technica review does a good job summarizing things without too much jargon, and this comment seems to boil it down to a single (if over-simplified) sentence. I am shocked by the price tag ($1,200 USD for the ti - a consumer-grade card), and I find myself wondering if there will be some consumer backlash that leads to a price-drop. However, nvidia has never been flexible on price-points in the past and it does seem like there is a fair amount of actual new hardware on the boards... so I am not holding out hope for that, personally. It seems like if you want to game at 4k/60 or 1440p/144 nvidia is the only game in town, and they know it. I will probably get one, and then feel like a bit of an idiot for doing so As an aside, I know this is not directly video gaming related, but I don't see a better board so here we are.
  25. I can't wait to hear more about the rankings system. My inner tryhard is excited Edit: Uh, what?
  26. The next update is adding another whole bunch of stuff. There's changes to matchmaking, the addition of ranking tiers, and some UI changes to select meds/grenades, in addition to the usual bug fixes. Tentatively optimistic that the matchmaking changes will allow OCE server to repopulate.
  27. Hey, I just finished a new episode of "Game Audio Lookout"! This time it's about musical sound effects in the Super Mario series. Here's the link to the video on YouTube: -- Musical Sound Effects in the Super Mario Series | Game Audio Lookout We’ll have a deeper look at musical sound effects in the Super Mario series in this episode of "Game Audio Lookout". I guess everybody has heard the sounds of the Super Mario series before. But I believe most of us don’t exactly know how these were constructed and what efforts were taken in later instalments of the series to produce sound effects that even harmonise with the game’s music. -- Feel free to let me know what you think Alex
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