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  2. Designer Notes 81: Jake Solomon - Part 2 In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game developer Jake Solomon, best known for the XCOM reboot and Midnight Suns. They discuss his first, failed attempt at XCOM, why 75% does not mean 75%, and how many copies of XCOM he sold at Power Gamer in Glen Burnie, MD. This episode was recorded on April 26, 2023. Games discussed: Civilization Revolution, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Rocket League, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, Marvel’s Midnight Suns, Old World, the Civilization series, XCOM 2, Slay the Spire, Offworld Trading Company, Into the Breach, Pandemic, Covert Action Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
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  4. Free Music / SFX Resource - Over 2500 Tracks

    Hey Everyone, Here's another brand new MP3 track on my Sci-Fi 12 page: "INTROSPECTIVE MACHINE INTELLIGENCE" I wonder what kinds of things they will ponder. Anyhow...enjoy and keep creating cool stuff! :-)
  5. Three Moves Ahead 610: Millennia

  6. Three Moves Ahead 610: Millennia It's a full house this week, as Len is joined by Ian Boudreau, Luke Plunkett, Mike Williams, and Ruth Cassidy to perform a bit of an autopsy on Millennia, C Prompt and Paradox's take at a Civ-like historical 4X. We all came away with a bit of a bad taste in our mouths about it, to varying degrees, and we spend a fair bit of time trying to explain why – and set aside some time to talk about what we did like. Millennia Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  7. Free Music / SFX Resource - Over 2500 Tracks

    Greetings Friends, I've been super busy creating custom music for clients, but I did manage to upload a new MP3 track that you can freely use in your projects, just like my thousands of other tracks. It's on my Sci-Fi 12 page: "ANCIENT ALIEN WORLDS" The Ogg version is available on Gumroad. CUSTOM WORK If anyone needs help with custom music, feel free to contact me...I'd love to help! :-)
  8. Three Moves Ahead 609: Europa Universalis 5 Confirmed?! (Patreon Preview) This is a preview of this month's Patreon episode. Check out the extended version at! Join Len, FatherLorris, and Lord Lambert as we get the NoCB Cast band back together to talk for 3.5 hours about Paradox Tinto's "Project Caesar," which is probably Europa Universalis 5. Okay, let's be real: it's definitely Europa Universalis 5. We break down the first four dev diaries, everything Johan has ever said about the project on the forums, and talk a bit about the year 1337 – which was not confirmed as the new start date when we recorded this, but has been at this point. So we nailed it. We're very smart. Please clap. Europa Universalis V Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  9. Free Music / SFX Resource - Over 2500 Tracks

    Greetings Everyone! I have some brand new MP3 tracks to share. Free to use, as always, with attribution. They are: On my Funny 8 page: "THE PLASTERED PELICANS POLKA" And on my Chiptunes 5 page: "PIXELTOWN R&B" Please don't forget to check out my higher-fidelity Ogg music packs here: Enjoy...and keep creating awesome stuff! :-)
  10. Three Moves Ahead 608: Balatro Len, Jon, and Mike Williams deal out a hand or two of Balatro. It's poker? Sort of? Not really? Poker with boss battles. Poker with booster packs. Poker with tarot cards? We don't hold our opinions close to our chest as we try to apply some kind of taxonomy to this indie surprise hit. Balatro Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  11. Free Music / SFX Resource - Over 2500 Tracks

    Happy March! Here's a brand new MP3 music track on my Sci-Fi 12 page: "ACROSS THE MARTIAN DESERT" It's free, as always, to download and use with attribution. SUPPORT If you find my work helpful, please consider making a small donation on my site to support my efforts. Thanks in advance...and enjoy! :-)
  12. Rocket League

    I've been playing Rocket League on a regular basis for about 2 years now. Finally hit Diamond rank in competitive 3's before the last season ended and am getting somewhat okay at the game. Anyone else still playing this? Despite Epic doing everything in their power to ruin this game I'm still having a blast. New season started yesterday and has some pretty good stuff in the Rocket Pass if anyone's interested.
  13. The Dancing Thumb (aka: music recommendations)

    Randomly stumbled on Jacob Collier in 2020 when COVID started and he quickly became my all-time favorite musician. He might be the single most talented musician of our era. This song is my absolute favorite. Listen to it on repeat at least 5 times and there is no possible way it won't pull at your heart at least a little.
  14. I Had A Random Thought...

    Hey don't sell yourself short. Retirements or no, I'm sure you've earned it. I'll try to pop in from time to time with some random thoughts. I've been delving a bit more into epistemology over the last few years and that's been pretty interesting. It's given me some pretty good insight into just how shaky the foundation is for many of the opinions and beliefs that I hold and increased my level of empathy for my fellow human beings holding opinions that differ from my own. It's got me pining for some of the old debates we used to have on these forums. Those are hard to come by these days with many people immediately either labeling people they disagree with as 'evil' or just outright assuming they are arguing in bad faith. And pretty much every major media outlet dials that up to 11, pouring gasoline on an already raging fire. So yeah, that's kind of where I'm coming from with my original CNN/FoxNews comment. I just see everyone organizing into their little diametrically opposed camps, seething with vitriol for those that disagree with them. It's heartbreaking. I'd like to see some warmth come back to humanity and for everyone to collectively chill the fuck out. Sorry for the rant. This used to be the one place where we could delve into shit and then everyone moved to Slack and the dynamic fundamentally changed. If anyone else shares my general sentiment, then please chime in. If not, I'll remain in the background and bring my reanimated corpse in here every 6 months or so to try to keep Idle Banter limping along.
  15. I Had A Random Thought...

    I won't get into too much detail but I'm only senior because everyone else above me has retired. I don't have any more authority than I did before and in fact I have more work than ever. But maybe that will change now that a new company has taken over (something that literally happened last week). Enough about me, glad to see you're still kicking around. I do miss our convos about whatever happened to be on our minds at any given moment.
  16. I Had A Random Thought...

    (Don't feel pressured to keep responding btw, I'm just feeling chatty today) I'm happy for you SAM, that's so awesome. I remember you posting about your first child being born and all the stresses of your job (which you admittedly had to be somewhat discreet about when sharing details). I didn't realize you had a son now too. And the age difference between your kids is almost exactly the same as mine (my son is 10 and my daughter is 14)! I hope as senior engineer that you have a good team under you that you can delegate work to and that those previous stressful responsibilities don't still fall solely on you, assuming this is the same job you were talking about all those years ago. Thanks for making my day and for always being cool towards me, even when I was being ridiculous!
  17. I Had A Random Thought...

    I feel like you are a parallel universe version of me and wonder if we are in fact two distinct people. I turned 40 last year and have also not interacted with social media (beyond window shopping) in years if not longer. My daughter will be 8 this summer and my son just turned 4. Lately I've been going back over things I'm supposed to know (and in a few cases be the expert on) to obtain a deeper and more nuanced understanding for my job. I'm now with my third company in the last 5 years even though my job and desk haven't changed in all that time. The only difference is now I'm the senior engineer.
  18. I Had A Random Thought...

    Haha, that's such a crazy coincidence. It is great to see you respond and I do appreciate it. I hope you're doing well and I think about you and some of the other forum regulars on a fairly frequent basis. We definitely had some good times. To this day I still avoid social media like the plague and this remains the one and only place that I ever engaged in "internet discussions". Crazy to think I was still in my 20's when I joined. I'll be 40 this year. And my daughter's turning 15 next month. I'd like to think life has made me a bit wiser now, but I'm not so sure. Seems that every time I learn something new, it only reveals how ignorant I undoubtedly am about a million other things.
  19. I Had A Random Thought...

    It's funny, in the most cosmic of coincidences I actually came to relive some of our old interactions (specifically discussing Fate of Atlantis). I noticed that you had recently posted something and on a whim decided to see what it was only to find myself being called out. I was compelled to respond. I think you really did summon me out of the ether.
  20. I Had A Random Thought...

    SAM!!! I missed you buddy! I guess I have to keep sharing Idle Banter after all. I'm a little light on random thoughts right now but I've been feeling a bit nostalgic for the old days on these forums. We had some good debates and discussions and I figured it wouldn't hurt to throw some shit out there and see if anybody's actually checking in on the forums.
  21. I Had A Random Thought...

  22. That’s why I came to the forum! Putting a list in the Episode notes would be great too.
  23. I Had A Random Thought...

    Dead Thread Redemption... Anyone else notice that almost all information out there has become completely unreliable unless you have a super strong bullshit detector? I swear, almost every "fact" I try to research has reams of information that both support and disprove it. Something fun that I've started doing (well, technically not fun, but interesting at least) is to pull up CNN and FoxNews side-by-side and just observe the wildly different universes they are portraying. And each supposedly backed by facts! It's gotten to the point that I eschew any and all group identification and prefer to just make up my own mind about each thing/topic on a case-by-case basis. Also, I think pretty soon I'm going to get to exercise squatters rights on Idle Banter. If nobody else posts within the next 6 months, I'm claiming this section of the forums for myself! (Gormongous, SAM, Ben, Synth, I know one of you is bound to check in here eventually)
  24. Building a Free Library of Images for Everyone

    Greetings Everyone! turned 10-years-old this past's hard to believe. I want to send out a big THANK YOU to everyone who has reached out and been so encouraging, supportive and appreciative. I sincerely hope that some of my assets have been (and continue to be) helpful in your awesome creations! Speaking of which... Brand new seamless texture images are ready on my Wood - (Tile-able) page. As always, they are 100% free to use with attribution, just like my thousands of other images. Access to my images, as always, is here: OTHER NEWS For those of you who have been using my free MP3 music tracks and want even richer sounding tracks, Ogg versions of most of my tracks are available as individual downloads that you can easily search for. Here's info about that: And complete music packs containing all of my tracks from various genres are here: Enjoy, stay safe and keep being creative! :-)
  25. Free Music / SFX Resource - Over 2500 Tracks

    Greeting Creatives! In case you didn't realize it, besides offering Ogg music packs, I also offer individual Ogg tracks (looping and non-looping.) This way, if you need a track or two but don't want to get entire music packs, you can get what you need. I've created a page on my site with a link: That said, this week's brand new music track is on my Chiptunes 5 page: "WINDLE PIXEL’S SEASIDE ADVENTURE" As always, it's 100% free to use with attribution, just like my thousands of other tracks. Enjoy, stay healthy and keep being creative! :-)
  26. Could we please have a list of the games discussed on the episode - even just to get the spellings of the games right so I can find out more?
  27. Three Moves Ahead 607: The Strategy Games of Steam Next Fest 2024 Len, Jon, and Mike Williams sit down to discuss the strategy and strategy-adjacent demos that caught our eyes in Steam Next Fest. Jon played 50 (!) of them, and several were actually good! Also like, where are all the aliens, for real though? Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
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