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  2. Frozen 2

    Let's have a discussion about Frozen 2's treatment of its themes! I particularly enjoy thinking about how the various characters are motivated. Christoph being motivated by his need of Anna; Anna being motivated by her compassion for Elsa; Elsa being motivated by a potential self that removes the veils of ignorance' Olaf motivated by a similar potential-self that is hinted at by a sense that others know more than they do. There are a lot of neat ways to graph the patterns and permutations. Other/Self, Past/Present/Future, Awareness/Ignorance and so on.
  3. Today
  4. [Dev Log] Farewell, Video Games

    Development has been going pretty well, don't know how long the jam deadline version will be but at least the showcase weekend version should have all the areas/enemies/hot memes I've been planning. Here's some random gifs. Because of the loose theme of magic and evil wizardry this looks like some kind of dishonored halloween game now. Updating the player graphics took some time, the black outlines tricked me making the character too thin. Eventually I just had to bravely embrace the thickness. And here's a fun effect I came up for the title screen.
  5. Meta trailers In this episode Ric and Derek discuss meta trailers, trailers which are self referential either to the movie, game or the trailer itself. What makes these trailers so much fun? When are they the most effectively used? And how long did it take for the trailer industry to start referencing how formulaic they were being? Trailers Discussed: Comedian, 6 Underground Whisper Trailer, Jumanji the Next Level ASMR Trailer, Inception Acapella Re-dub, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, BattleBlock Theater Steam Trailer, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists UK Trailer, The Stanley Parable Raphael Trailer, Muppets Most Wanted, Toys, Miracle on 34th st (1947) Trailer 1 Trailer 2, The Birds, Psycho, Real Life, Mother, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Gone in 60 Seconds, Gemini Man, Deadpool 2, Detective Pikachu, Free Guy, Mighty No. 9 Masterclass Trailer, Kingsman the Golden Circle. If you have questions or comments please send them to Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  6. [DEV LOG] What Remains of Idle Thumbs

    I like that everyone who enters must face the eyes of Luigi
  7. If I understand well, that means that you have AAA publishers that are more risk-adverse than ever, and a increasing amount of indy developpers hoping to "make it big" in a very competitive environment. Are the middle-size developper studios (staff of 25-50 people) making "AA" games generally facing harder times ? That's a very good point : a lot of games made in 2010 do not feel antiquated compared to more recent games, which wasn't true in previous decades. For example, if you look at the Civ series, there is a big gulf between Civ1 (1991), Civ 3 (2001) and Civ 5(2010) in UI and especially graphics, while Civ5's UI and graphics are still pretty decent compared to Civ 6. It does make it harder for newer games to "brake in".
  8. It's a pity, because the game manages to be fairly simple to play (little micromanagement if you want to avoid it) while modelling command & control very well. I feel Decisive Campaigns : Barbarossa also deserved a mention for going beyond mere "counter-pushing" and allowing you to roleplay a chief-of-staff on the Eastern Front. I would rank these two among the most interesting computer wargame designs of the decade.
  9. Thanks for the recommendation, I tried it on a friend's computer and it looks like a good game, but my current desktop won't be able to run it : its processor, an Intel j3455, is actually slower than the Core 2 Duo I use to have and only has an integrated chipset ! I traded power for silence and energy efficiency. And nowadays, I only use my older PC only for some desktop publishing tasks with Indesign (I use Linux on my other computer). For ancient-era gaming, I'm more into boardgames, like Great Battles of History, Ancient Worlds Series by Berg, Republic of Rome or Imperium Romanum II.
  10. EU4 is probably my favourite strategy game but I can see people struggling with its bloatness. In general there's a tendency for strategy games to aim for infinite replayability with huge campaigns and bazillions of playable factions. This is partly why I think single player campaigns are dead, if you're making a campaign it should be 100 hours replayable systemic thing or something. Total War Warhammer felt fresh cause it limited itself in that regard but it was a temporary thing, now it's a humongous game. If I can make a recommendation: recent Field of Glory Empires is a much more laconic strategy game reminding me of relative simplicity of EU2. But you'd probably need a PC capable of handling EU4 or even better even though it's turn-based. Also about XCOM clones: Massive Chalice was my favorite one. Guys were right that XCOM1/2 is lying about Iron Man being the way to go. It doesn't make sense to have a ~50 battles campaign in Iron Man with so many chances to screw yourself. As Rob said it's not a grind like Battletech where you slowly lose, it's a chess play where one wrong move might mean checkmate. Lose powerful guy in a battle #10 and now those 20 later battles he could participate in are much harder and will probably add to the sacrifices. Massive Chalice evades the problem by making every character only fighting 3 or 4 battles and later retiring, passing their genes and training to later generations and so on. Losing a person can harm a bloodline or might even destroy one which makes a final battle harder but it won't trigger a domino fall, he'd only help in a couple more battles. Another approach is excellent Invisible Inc you've talked about - it is Iron Man and it is chess-like as in a single wrong move means death, but it includes a rewind mechanic that allows you to go back for a turn a couple of times per mission, and only the higher difficulty levels turn off this ability. Besides, it's just several hours long, like Into the Breach that has similar mechanic and length. And it's sad about XCOM being so schizophrenic about Iron Man cause it's obvious there are numerous mechanics designed to deal with stuff going wrong and player refusing to cowardly reload. But there are plenty of stuff that will quietly doom your campaign without telling you if you don't know it's there.
  11. Good episode! I was a bit surprised at the lack of a shout-out to games like Armored Brigade or Twilight Struggle and the focus on a number of main franchises/areas (Paradox, Firaxis, Total War, Roguelikes). You and video games during the decade 2008 marked the first time I had a semi-modern gaming PC, and I upgraded to a GTX460 video card in 2010. Although I moved up to a new machine in 2015, I kept either the GTX460 or used onboard video until mid-2018, so my gaming was necessarily graphically un-intensive. This decade, I spent a lot of time playing indie games, and I maintained a games consumption pattern similar to the 90's, where I would play select games intensely, but skip over large segments of the zeitgeist, even if the game was in my library. I also spent lots of time playing older games that have held up. Some of my most-played: Battletech FTL Civ 5 (Mostly Brave New World, largely as Venice) Kerbal Space Program XCOM: Enemy Unknown X-Com UFO Defense Endless Sky Door Kickers Into the Breach Atlantic Fleet Flotilla Atom Zombie Smasher Gunpoint Heat Signature Twilight Struggle Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Sid Meier's Colonization Roller Coaster Tycoon Jagged Alliance 2 MissionForce Cyberstorm Majesty Sid Meier's Pirates Star Wars Rebellion Final Liberation: Warhammer Epic 40,000 Triple Town Total Annihilation Satellite Reign Dawn of War: Dark Crusade Dawn of War 2 / Chaos Rising Company of Heroes Close Combat - Gateway to Caen Ironcast Crypt of the NecroDancer Mini Metro Mutant Year Zero Frozen Synapse Chroma Squad Massive Chalice Qvadriga Bionic Dues Ace Patrol / Ace Patrol 2 Favourite solo strategy gaming moment of the decade Defeating the 'impossible' boss of the FTL preview build on OnLive for Kickstarter backers. Playing Iran-Iraq war as a Twilight Struggle headline card and finding out that the AI had played Iranian Hostage Crisis as its headline card Favourite multiplayer strategy gaming moment of the decade Nothing of note Favourite strategy game made in this decade Toss-up between FTL and Into The Breach. As a software developer, I'm in awe of not just their system design skills, but also their discipline in scope control and masterful UI/UX work on top of their marketing/business acumen. Biggest disappointment of the decade The trend for online retailers to pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap in general. Steam sales in particular. Your thoughts on the evolution of the strategy games during the decade The economics of game development continues to evolve. Games are pretty unique in terms of content that is produced, distributed, and consumed and I think it's an issue the industry is still grappling with. 1) The relationship between publishers and developers. In traditional game publisher model is similar to that of a book publisher - speculate on lots of prospects, with the expectation that most will fail, some will break even or succeed modestly, and the sheer weight of probability will mean that the one or two that become blockbusters will effectively subsidize the payments to the 99% that fade away. It's basically the insurance model in reverse. Many publishers though, seem to have moved towards backing a smaller number of very large projects with generally better odds of at least not failing terribly. That leaves the publishers and any internal studios vulnerable to a string of bad releases. On the other hand, indies that self-publish are almost like independent bands without a record label - a handful will succeed and profit enormously, and the majority will personify the starving artist stereotype without any profit-sharing mechanism. 2) As games in general mature as a medium, the back catalogues become increasingly important and adds to the market saturation. Consider that when Hitman 2 releases, it needs to compete with Hitman(2016) for my attention. Wargame: Red Dragon has to compete with Wargame: AirLand Battle. The long tail of a game that ages gracefully is actively diverting attention and potentially money from newer games that have yet to recoup their costs. Crying Suns is a perfectly fine game, but I would recommend FTL to someone before Crying Suns, even though it is 7-8 years older. In some ways, this is analogous to classic novels or films, but games often demand a larger time investment than either of those. 3) Rise in cross-platform games. I'm not sure how much of this is thanks to the ubiquity of Unity and Unreal or the fact that this generation's console hardware converged heavily with the PC, but between that and increasingly powerful mobile hardware, we're seeing games being published across PC, PS4, XBox, and increasingly, Switch, iOS, and Android devices as well. 4) Change in the shape of the market - What games are popular in Chin? Korea? Japan? India? South America? Some of them are still the same blockbusters from North American/European studios, but I expect plenty of differences in taste and creations from teams specializing in those markets. We've seen lots of specialist grognard games (the kind with the 90's WinForm UIs and purchased via mail-order cheque) start showing up on general digital distribution platforms. The floor for a game's success (single developer breaking even) hasn't changed in decades, but the peak - both the cost and rewards of the most successful games like a GTA V or Witcher 3, or a League of Legends are almost unfathomable. Much like the ballooning size of tech giants relative to traditional industrial/resource/financial/telecom companies compared to just a decade ago.
  12. [Dev Log] Farewell, Video Games

    Very good.
  13. [DEV LOG] What Remains of Idle Thumbs

    I feel like that blue cup should be branded by Ultra Boost or something
  14. Yesterday
  15. [Released] Beppo's Hole (in one golf)

    Definitely on the short list! Thanks for the suggestion. Updated in v1.0.4!
  16. Yeah, I enjoyed much of the DLC for Crusader Kings 2, but I find it incredibly telling that they twice announced that they were done making DLC for the game... only to renege on that statement. I'm not nearly naive enough to think that they got sudden ideas for another two years' worth of DLC twice, and design choices driven by financial necessity always make me leery but especially when it comes to video games.
  17. After so many Winters of Wargaming titles like Command Ops 2 don't even get a mention
  18. This is absolutely my feelings on it as well. It probably doesn't help that in TJ Hafer's own words " Crusader Kings II is the game that launched a thousand DLCs, and pretty much spawned an unprecedented system of post-release expansions that could see a game supported even five or six years after the original launch." Supported being a soothing euphemism for emptying people's wallets and, worse, encouraging other strategy games to follow the same model!
  19. Excellent episode! And thanks for your great post, Ilitarist. It’s interesting to read about your gaming evolution. Compared to you, I took the reverse path: from EU to Civ. To be more precise, I stopped playing the Civ series when Europa Universalis I came out and slowly came back to Civ after EU4. Civ 1 and 2 are by far my favorite of the series, followed by Civ 4. I enjoyed CK2 a lot in my first play, but it lost a lot of its lustre in subsequent sessions. I never found it really revolutionary either: the base ingredients were in CK1, the KOEI games already handled character relationship since the eighties, albeit in a very crude fashion, and games like Rise of the West or Medieval Lords in the nineties (both based on or inspired by the Empires of Middle Ages boardgame) managed to be cool medieval story generators and fun strategy games without needing complex mechanics or interface. You and video games during the decade At the start of the decade, I was a big fan of Paradox games, RPGs and soccer management games. Now I play a lot less and my tastes lean towards retrogaming (ms-dos and Win3.X games mainly) and tabletop gaming, although I enjoy some fairly recent grognardy computer wargames with low performance requirements, like the Campaign Series and The Operational Art of War. Favourite solo strategy gaming moment of the decade An epic solo game of Medieval Lords: Soldier Kings of Europe (1991) with the kingdom of Georgia, from 1028 to around 1440. The small kingdom survived the Seldjoukids and Mongol invasions, then conquered most of the Byzantine empire and of Russia before slowly falling apart due to constant wars on multiple fronts, assassination of rulers, spread of plagues and heresies, noble revolts... Despite a good recovery at the beginning of the 15th century, it was too weakened to stand the might of the timuride armies. Favourite multiplayer strategy gaming moment of the decade Some great all-nighters with a old friend on Warlords 3 random maps. Favourite strategy game made in this decade Probably The Operational Art of War IV. It’s not a big improvement on the previous episode and it does have its share of quirks and flaws (command and control is poorly modelled for example), but it's still one of the most flexible computer wargames around. I'm not fond of the WW2 monster scenarios, but I enjoy most of the others I played, especially the Balkan wars scenarios. Biggest disappointment of the decade Europa Universalis 4 (EU4). It had a lot of great improvements over EU2 (rebellion, diplomacy, colonisation or religious conversion for example), but I wasn’t convinced by other mechanics like the ‘mana’ system and got tired of the state of flux of the game and the constant addition of mechanisms that didn’t always gel well with the rest. My PC was barely able to run it, which didn’t help. Finally, as I was starting to game a lot less, I also realised that EU2 gave me as much fun, if not more, while requiring much less computing power and time commitment. I still go back to EU2 (or more precisely For the Glory) once in a while, but I gave up on other Paradox titles. Your thoughts on the evolution of the strategy games during the decade. Nothing to say there, because I’m out of the loop.
  20. [Dev Log] Live from the Past

    Threw in a basic character select screen. I had some fun choosing the different fonts and names for each character.
  21. [Dev Log] Farewell, Video Games

    Not only that, it seems Introduction To Video Games was the first Wizard Jam game I ever commented on (begging for a 'polished' version for some reason)! I will try to mirror this by making my last ever Wizard Jam forum post in this thread, too.
  22. [Released] Beppo's Hole (in one golf)

    Nice. I did give it another go with the new update but I think I only got +4 or so. Oh, one small last change I thought of: pressing "continue" with spacebar, that way the whole round would be playable with keyboard.
  23. [Released] Beppo's Hole (in one golf)

    @Henke *cough* (the two rounds prior were a 42 and 49, so I mean, I'm not THAT good)
  24. [Dev Log] Live from the Past

  25. Idle Thumbs Streams
  26. [Dev Log] Live from the Past

    Took a night off of programming and whipped up a quick logo
  27. Last week
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