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  2. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    Episode 134! I think Reynolds was looking for inspiration for insults and didn't find much from Dune except for "Destroying you would be a service to humanity!" and he instead listened to the full and unabridged Les Miserables. That was also the point where Troy immediately declared his love for Brian
  3. Hello, I just put four hours of my life into Pandora: First Contact, a game that explicitly seeks to emulate and even recreate the feel of playing the best game of all time, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Of course, it fails utterly, like they all do, but it left me thinking about why SMAC is such a singular experience after all these years. I find Civilization II almost unplayably dated, but outside of the unit workshop, SMAC totally holds up. I'll start with an easy one. The tech tree in SMAC has more personality 0xc00000e9 than the tech trees in every other 4X game combined. Not only are the individual techs themselves interesting and surprising, but the way they're connected to each other is as well, all the more so when you play with blind research. Every single tech has quotes, read as well as the rest of the voice acting in the game, but unlike Pandora, which just seems to pick the coolest quote on a given topic (erring often towards Carl Sagan), quotes for SMAC tech all contribute to the same tone, which is a perfect balance of optimism and anxiety that captures the unique charm of fin-de-millénaire sci-fi. thanks iosman
  4. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    You guys misremembered what Brian Reynolds said about SMAC. He wanted to use Dune-style dialogue, but it was drier than he remembered, so he used Pirates of Penzance instead. Fun episode. I think there was a fourth person whose dialogue was accidentally silenced during editing a few times during the middle of the episode.
  5. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    Nah, I played the crap out of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter and it was especially good about differentiating light and heavy craft. X-Wing Alliance was the inflection point.
  6. Idle Thumbs Streams

    How does Nick so consistently create perfect moments?
  7. Yesterday
  8. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    There was just something about the flight dynamics of the ships in XWA that made them feel a bit more lightweight; a bit less tight than in TIE Fighter or X-Wing. I don't recall playing X-wing vs. TIE Fighter, so maybe the change happened around then. Yes and no. If you hire all cheap mercs and play on easy, your experience will definitely be similar. 1) In JA2, high-level mercs no longer require you to have a proven history before working with you, so you can start off with some high level mercs 2) The optimal strategy is to hire at least a couple high-level mercs at the beginning for 1 day (possible even on the highest difficulty level) so that you can get their gear (Gus Tarballs with his G41 or anyone with a Mini-14 will give you a huge range and firepower advantage over pistols and SMGs) 3) If you play on higher difficulty levels, the enemy weapons will get better faster, letting you salvage better weapons and ammo sooner and in greater quantities 4) Using melee to disable enemies and steal their weapons is not only viable but often important in the early game. Ambushing a lone enemy or two behind a blind corner or inside a building works best.
  9. Didactic Thumbs (Pedantry Corner)

    People who use the term "mystery-box storytelling" - what do you mean by it? Because Abrams' TED Talk use of 'mystery-box' was so broad as to not really mean anything. He called the Darth Vader reveal in ESB a mystery box. He calls movie theaters mystery-boxes. I think some people use it to mean "the enjoyable speculation over a never-explained mystery", but then the term is also applied to LOST which did explain pretty much everything (how successfully is subjective, imo very).
  10. Well, it's only a teaser trailer. It's a Christopher Nolan movie that seems to have lots of atmosphere and tension and maybe some narrative timeline tricks. Up to you whether you're excited by that or not! (If you're confused by it having Russian text, I believe that's because this teaser was only played in cinemas and they've been taking down online versions so it's hard to find one in English.) I can't immediately think of any favourite teaser trailers that haven't already been mentioned, but I always thought that if this one cut off at the 1 min mark it would have been great:
  11. Last week
  12. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    I don't remember the player ship being that bad in XWA. You just need to switch constantly between manual and auto-targeting. Maybe lacked for variety. Too bad it never got the sequel that was suggested by the cliff-hangar ending. Oh and the Death Star Run was a big pain. Remember being stuck on that quite a long time. Does JA2 start any differently than the first one? I tried to get into JA1 a couple of times but going into battle with nothing but pistols and running out of ammunition was not exhilarating.
  13. Free Music Resource - Over 1800 Tracks

    Happy Thursday! Here are this week’s new tracks…100% free to use with attribution: “MYSTICAL HIGHLANDS” – (Looping) – Perhaps atop faraway mountains where the clouds drift below you. Or maybe in the quiet alleyways of an ancient city. Here are a couple new music tracks that might work for Halloween projects…or perhaps other things: "CREEPY HOLLOW" - Will you venture into the mist-filled forest? This track loops easily, btw. “THE ATTIC OF SECRETS” – (Looping) – A dark, drafty place filled with long-forgotten things. What will you find? Have a good weekend…and keep being creative!
  14. Anzen: Echoes of War

    We are a group of gamers turned game developers and we are working on an ARPG for iOS and Android called "Anzen: Echoes of War". Its a new type of mobile ARPG brings great gameplay, character customization and end-game content together to create unlimited replayability. As a Guardian, travel through the world of Anzen and uncover the truth behind the lost myths and legends of old. When digging up the past there is no telling what you will find. Features Premium Experience: We will NEVER have ads, loot boxes or pay-to-win micro-transactions Story: A rich world has been created, from the ground up, for you to explore. Multiplayer: Coordinate groups with your friends or join up with other players in the game. Classless System: There are no classes. Equipping weapons grant you abilities. Loot: Keep with traditional randomized loot with a special item class that changes their look as they level up and grants the user a Legendary Ability. End Game: Getting max level is just the beginning! We have a huge focus on end game content. On release we will have our Endless Dungeon mode that will push you to your limits! Expansions: Do you like how your favorite PC and Console games release full-blown expansions of content? Us too! Get more story, items, abilities and more when we release an expansion! Cosmetics: We want you to look your best as you defeat your enemies. You will find new looks for your armor, color variants for skills and vanity items such as capes, character portrait boarders and more! We will be making our prototype publicly available to test out so I can post that update here when its up. Art Style The game has a stylized look that still holds to realism. We didnt want to go the direction of a cartoony or be hyper realistic. Our goal was to establish an art style that is unique to the game. We went with a fantasy look with our own take on futuristic elements. It took us many, many iterations but we are staring to get a handle on the style and being consistent with it. Environments Inner Sanctum Crater City Characters Kyra Dey and Kelipso (bad guy ) Here is a walk through of one of our prototype levels. Gameplay We are inspired by PC ARPGs and we want to create a mobile game that offers an amazing experience and a world you can grow your character, become powerful and test your skills in endgame content. As we continue development we will keep iterating to make the gameplay smooth and satisfying. Audio Audio is something we do not want to leave to the end of development. We have been working to incorporate music, sound effects and voice over into the game early on. This made sure that we understand what is needed and make sure we can keep a high level of quality throughout the game. We have composed two songs for the game so far with more planned. Check them out on our Soundcloud! Jump in our Discord and talk to us directly about the game Discord: Follow our progress on social media! Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: Check out our website for an overview of the game, lore, art, music, dev blogs and more! Thank you for taking the time to check out Anzen! We would love to her your thoughts on the game and what you feel we can improve on.
  15. Hello to the community, I would like to mention a game I recently started playing on the web. It includes more than 70+ Real Life countries and there is a promotion around to earn 10$ pack as a gift if you register. There are multiple things to go for as economy and war between countries. I see there are many players from all over the world and the game has very active Administration. I will leave a video I found on the landing page, register at to learn more or send me a private message to give you my referral link so I can help you more! Help me rise my country and I will help you back as much as possible!
  16. I wanted to love X-Wing Alliance back in the day, and I think it does get good, but a lot of the campaign was dreadful. Doing all the missions for your family flying around in a newer version of a Correllian Freighter felt like flying around in a bathtub. It gets good once you join the Rebellion, but it was such a slog getting there. Skirmish mode was awesome though and I even played online a few times.
  17. Building a Free Library of Images for Everyone

    Hey everyone, I just opened a new page of stone pixel art-style tiles. You’ll find them here: ART – Stone Feel free to edit as needed. I’ve also created a bunch of new ground tiles. They live here: ART – Ground As always, if you have any requests, feel free to pm or email me. I hope some of my work is helpful!
  18. Idle Thumbs Streams
  19. Movie/TV recommendations

    I just watched The Death of Stalin and it was this macabre comedy where I was constantly horrified by casualness of human life. Some great performances and I loved that everyone just kept their accents. I think it is Jason Isaac's performance and twang that threw me in a good way. It has inspired me to spend more time looking into Stalin's death and the political upheaval during that period
  20. Movie/TV recommendations

    My issue with the director's cut is largely that the addition of scenes on LV-426 before the outbreak ruin the dramatic tension of the first act, but the rest of the changes are golden, I agree.
  21. Designer Notes 48: Adam Saltsman - Part 1 In this episode, Soren interviews game developer Adam Saltsman, who co-founded indie publisher Finji and is best known for his work on Gravity Hook, Canabalt, Hundreds, Capsule, and Overland. They discuss how Cave Story showed him that he could make games on his own, why he thought he worked with the guy who invented Boggle, and his many failed attempts to join the video games industry. Games discussed: Super Mario Bros. 2, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Cave Story, Tower Blocks, Boggle, Gravity Hook, ThrustBurst Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  22. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    Between Jagged Alliance 2, Alpha Centauri, Close Combat 3 (released New Year's Eve 1998, so...) and with shoutouts to X-wing Alliance and Homeworld, I've not only spent more hours playing games from this year than any other, but I could probably give up new games and just continue playing these games for many more years (assuming they continue working on newer OS'. JA2 has been finicky and hates alt-tabbing)
  23. Idle Thumbs Streams
  24. Movie/TV recommendations

    I have resumed my top 250 lists watching recently... Only 22 movies to go on the Letterboxd Top 250 narrative films list. Most of them are between 3 and 14 hours long so I might not get through the remainder quickly, maybe next year. But in the past weeks I saw some good stuff. Aliens (1986, James Cameron) is such a brilliant action film. I had forgotten that I had already seen it and it must be because I saw it as a kid because some images came back to me as memories of nightmares. I think the story actually comes out better in the Director's Cut, which really makes the movie a lot more about motherhood, and maybe I looked at it in a naive way, but it felt quite powerful. The ending is still quite disgustingly good. The images in this film are just so amazing. I want to learn more about what they did for the lighting. I have the Alien to Prometheus box set with some extras so might go through those soon. Just watched A Face in the Crowd (1957, Elia Kazan). This is my second Kazan movie after On the Waterfront and I liked this a lot more. It made me think of films like Ace in the Hole and Scarface from the way it thrusts you into a story that just keeps escalating until something must give. Ok, every story might be said to do that, but in these three it's made very apparent how the escalation happens around and affects one person/event. I think this film deserves to be more well know than it is and today it might even be thought prophetic. The Fifth Seal (1976, Zoltan Fabri). It is an easy to follow film where some men discuss philosophy and steaks at a semi-underground bar during the war and later their philosophy is put to test. I don't want to spoil too much, but it's a film worth seeing and speaks something about the human condition. The Second Mother (2015, Anna Muylaert) is about a woman, Val, who works as a nanny and housekeeper with a rich São Paulo family. When Val's daughter, whom she hasn't seen for 10 years, comes to town to attempt to get into the university to study architecture, her different outlook causes some friction and Val has to re-evaluate her own attitudes towards life. There are some really powerful moments in it towards the end where I really empathized with the mother. Pixote (1981, Hector Babenco) was not on the Top 250 list, but might as well be. I think it was recently restored and was now on Mubi. It's about a young Brazilian boy who gets in with a bad crowd and has to survive in the brutal youth detention system and the criminal world. He just wants to be a child, but nobody gives him that opportunity.
  25. Netflix Originals

    Was Shirkers a Netflix Original? I remember it seeing in close proximity to Fyre, and enjoying it a lot more I haven't seen most of ther others, currently mostly going through various Top 250 lists etc.
  26. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    You also gotta wonder how many people are willing to tell you their life story at the drop of a hat. That's another thing about Ultima IV, you could talk to everyone but most wouldn't have much to say and some even would tell you to buzz off and break off the conversation. There needs to be a balance. In Morrowind, the NPCs literally felt like computer terminals that would spew out information on a given subject. Though personally I wonder if I simply didn't care to read a lot from games after a certain age. I remember reading every tech description in Civilization 1 but by the time Civ 2 came around, I had zero interest in reading the tech descriptions. I don't know if it was the aesthetic, or the content, or just a change. But well after that I did play games like Baldurs Gate that required some reading but not a huge amount. Thing about BG1 also is that the city itself felt too big, and it was annoying to move around. So ultimately the problem for me might just be a sense of my time being wasted, or at least time being spent on activities that aren't worth the investment.
  27. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    Also 1:38:52
  28. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    This is connected to what they've said about devs worrying about what they could do, not what they should do. They've talked about complexity here, but it's also about size of the map in Heroes game or amount of lore in your typical modern game. IIRC Morrowind had 12 Mb of text on release. It's the same amount of text as in the King James Bible. 1995 RPG Chrono Trigger - praised for its story and characters - is 4 Mb including graphics and music (those ROMs might have some sort of compression but you get the idea). Ultima 7, a humongous RPG, is 20 Mb. In that case voice acting may work as a positive constraint. Pillars of Eternity 1 & 2 are good recent examples. Many people didn't like PoE1 cause it had tons of exposition, visiting a new location means reading walls of text. PoE2 has most of its dialogue voice acted and it's noticeably much better paced.
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