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  1. Today
  2. 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
  3. 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)
  4. Idle Thumbs Streams

    https://clips.twitch.tv/SuperOptimisticHareDBstyle
  5. Yesterday
  6. 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.
  7. Netflix Originals

    Was Shirkers a Netflix Original? I remember it seeing in close proximity to Fyre, and enjoying it a lot more https://letterboxd.com/film/shirkers/ I haven't seen most of ther others, currently mostly going through various Top 250 lists etc.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Three Moves Ahead 476: Pericles

    Like so many other rules heavy board games I remain envious of people who have three friends who are willing to put in the effort to learn these games and play with them.
  11. Netflix Originals

    Agreed on El Camino, Two Ferns and Wine Country. Disagree on Always Be My Maybe, which I thought was the most bland, toothless archetype of a romcom I've seen in a while. I also watched Dumplin' but for some reason I forgot to put a review on letterboxd. It was meh to good. I didn't realise Shaft was a Netflix co-production! I should have realised when it came on the service two weeks after theatrical release. I can't be bothered to watch it after the bad reviews, though, even if Roundtree does get more to do than in the last one.
  12. Hearing that none of you played Outcast breaks my heart a little. The game broke new ground everywhere pushing boundaries in technology and game play. It didn't always succeed but its one of the most important action adventure games of its time. It had an symphonic orchestra soundtrack (and a damn good one) to evoke a cinematic experience in an age when game music had only just begun to explore the possibilities of CD:s. The voxels let them build huge lush worlds to explore with the best water I had ever seen. It was open world before anyone knew what open world games could be. In these huge levels you had rideable mounts. You could place teleport markers(!) to travel instantly between spots at will. You did quests for villagers to build support in a region and that would in turn weaken enemy troops there. Hello ubigame. Causing chaos and destruction would in-game narratively punish you by having weapon vendors raise prices. They even made an entire web series of cinematic outtakes.
  13. Netflix Originals

    Between two ferns was worth it just for the chicken strips joke
  14. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    Not sure why publishers get all of the blame for closing a company, but said company gets zero blame for selling to the publisher in the first place. Also would need to disagree about the voice acting. While I enjoyed playing earlier games like Ultima IV where they had some reading, when you get into a Morrowind the text is so large and so generic from npc to npc that the world just feels lifeless. Would rather have more limited voice acting of an Oblivion or an Arx Fatalis over the huge text count of other games. For 1999 I would have to rank Freespace 2 first. X-Wing Alliance was a good time also, though not as good as Tie Fighter it did still have some great stuff going for it. Homeworld was also jaw droppingly amazing and HW and FS2 are two gaming experiences I will never forget.
  15. Last week
  16. Netflix Originals

    Ok, El Camino is out and also I've recently watched a pile of Netflix's Orignal movies for the year. Time for my fall-time BEST OF list. Best Netflix Original Movies 2019 (so far) 1. Always Be My Maybe Hilarious and heartwarming, even if it the jokes do dry up in the final act and it pretty much becomes a straight drama. Also, that mid-movie cameo puts all other movie-cameos to shame. 2. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Really well put-together, with some great performances. Felt very episodic, like 3 or 4 episodes of the show mashed into a movie, which is kinda appropriate. Somehow it never really engrossed me 100%, but I also feel like I wanna watch it again. 3. Between Two Ferns: The Movie A bit uneven, but I enjoyed it enough to watch it twice. Honestly, the end credits are the most hilarious part. 4. Walk. Ride. Rodeo. A real-life story about a competitive rodeo rider who, after a paralyzing accident, is determined to not only walk, but get back in the saddle again. It's starts out very sacharine, but manages to bring the feels when shit hits the fan. Overall the structure is kinda your classic underdog sports movie, but I found it very captivating. 5. Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened This was pretty crazy, huh? Also pretty good: Triple Frontier In The Tall Grass In The Shadow Of The Moon Meh: Velvet Buzzsaw Wine Country Polar The Highwaymen See You Yesterday The Wandering Earth Shaft Still to come: Dolemite Is My Name The Irishman
  17. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    I'm always happy when a new 3MA comes out, keep it up guys! I wonder if I am the only one who remembers this era of PC gaming as "the years when Microsoft and EA teamed up to kill PC gaming." A lot of the "genre pushed in odd ways to tech up, and failing in the process" and "genre killed and left in a ditch" sort of thing was, in my mind, quite deliberate. Leading studios were bought, subjected to grotesque surgeries in order to make them fit the new console future, and then summarily executed when the resulting entity was a failure. Mid-sized companies were not allowed to continue making text and sprite heavy games, regardless of their performance, because the big players did not want them to continue to succeed in the old style. For RPG's, in particular, the push for full voice acting by the industry leaders more or less broke the genre. It was not possible for companies of the time to fully voice something like Torment, and publishers would not let anything without voice acting survive. I hated this with a burning passion. I hated, hated, hated voice acting, and 3D graphics, because I always saw them as an unfair imposition upon my favorite studios and genres that was intended only to make them die. Ultima 9 could never be an Ultima in the old sense because it was fully voiced, and they simply were not going to fully voice the old-style meandering conversations that had always made that game special. There was just so much text, so much back and forth, so many odd paths you could follow in something like Ultima 6, and it was obvious at the time that the genre was impossible with full voice. This is just as true today as it was back then. Games that really try for the old-school depth of conversation - Wasteland 2, Numenara, etc. only use voice in a few places, and that frees them to be what they need to be.
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  19. I love it when you guys do these balst from the past programmes. I might have missed you talking about it, but Broodwar would be my favourite strategy game that released in 1999! Absolute classic year overall though. Just to point out Lethis: Path of Progress was the Impressions'alike game that Rob was trying to recall.
  20. Assistant Editors In this episode we discuss the job of the trailer assistant editor, and the many things we learned on the job. What does an assistant editor do? What are their day to day tasks, and how many varieties of tea do they need to keep track of? We also discuss the trailers for 6 Underground, The Gentlemen and Free Guy. Trailers Discussed: 6 Underground, The Gentlemen, Free Guy, 1917 Featurette, Russian Ark, They Shall Not Grow Old, Boyhood, The King's Man. If you have questions or comments please send them to cutdown@idlethumbs.net. Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  21. Hi The company I work for released a couple of developer diaries, There are really interesting if you are at all interested in game design or game development. The game is coming together really nicely and is coming out fairly soon. Feel free to comment or anything I'm always lurking in the forums https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRj5v420R7E https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbNWLwYMF1Q&t=69s
  22. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    Haven't heard it yet but it seems that the very first 3MA Strikes back
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  24. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    I'm getting dead air too. It does seem like one person's audio has dropped out. E.g. at 1:42:18, Rob stops mid-sentence as though he's been interrupted, there's a brief silence, and then everyone laughs.
  25. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    I feel like when you start talking Alpha Centauri and wargames, someone got cut off. You got long pauses and people grunting and answering to the air. It's in 1h30/1h40 something like that.
  26. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    The file download has "mp" type instead of "mp3".
  27. Three Moves Ahead 480: 1999 Rob, Rowan, and Sean welcome Jeff Green to discuss what might be the greatest year in gaming. Looking down the release slate for that year, it was obviously stacked with brilliant games like Alpha Centauri, Freespace 2, and Jagged Alliance 2 (to name just a few). But did people know it was special at the time? And did anyone realize how fleeting that moment would prove to be, just before Microsoft entered the console wars and began to bridge the gap between console and PC? Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
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