Posts posted by TychoCelchuuu
Re: the spoiler - no. And fie on you for saying that Frozen Synapse doesn't have much atmosphere. That game is nothing but atmosphere and tactics. It has been stripped to the basics.
So, the game apparently does get much better: the demo missions are 3 out of the 5 tutorial missions, and after that the game opens up a lot more, the maps get larger, it turns into more of an X-COM game. As for your criticisms:
Move or shoot and then move or shoot again
I don't know how I feel about this. I don't think it's an improvement, but I can't tell if it's much worse or an acceptable simplification. I'd have to play much more X-COM to decide.
Spot an alien? keep on trucking
Yeah, this is pretty annoying. I think in the full game there will probably be more aliens, so maybe you can't be as cavalier, but it's certainly missing the horrendous brutality that we have come to know and love.
A progression of knee high walls
I don't really mind this (the original X-COM had tons of these things too) but what I do mind is how cover has been simplified down to percentages and stuff instead of being actual cover like in the original.
Skills on cooldown
I really miss all the inventory micromanagement but I can definitely understand the argument for getting rid of all of that.
Nonexistent facing - overwatch 360 degrees for the win
This strikes me as very weird. They seem to want to transition the game from being about facing to being about cover. I'm not sure I like the change.
Recruits all have the same stats
I didn't notice this, but are you sure? If you click on the little question mark thing near the bottom left or hit whatever hotkey it is, it brings up the soldier's stats like bravery and whatever. Are those the same for everyone?
Small, high-survivability squads
This is by far one of my least favorite changes the new game has made. There's an upper limit on how brutal a game can get with your soldiers when it gives you so few of them.
I don't mind this so much as I mind the absence of base defense missions; apparently they've replaced "other bases" with "have satellite coverage of other areas" which seems sensible enough to me.
Binary choice of missions
I hope this was just part of the 5 mission tutorial thing.
Scaled-down economy (200 simoleons for helping the chinese? whtf?)
$200 X-COM bucks for saving China is silly but I can certainly understand why they would want to move the game away from being a Heavy Laser Manufacturing Company and Alien Beatup Force Simulation.
My biggest beef with the game is the move towards cover and % chance to hit as the basis of combat rather than concealment and % chance to fire accurately. In the original X-COM, if you were behind something, you were safe until that thing was blown up, and you were doubly safe because nobody could see you. In this new game, bullets will break the fabric of reality to hit their target as long as you roll a "hit." Cover doesn't actually block anything, even being behind a corner doesn't protect you from being seen or being shot - cover or a corner just add to the % chance that the bullets miss. I don't really think I enjoy the change. It looks silly for my soldier to fire a shotgun out of a window next to her in order to hit an alien on the other side of the wall from her.
edit: on the plus side it does sound like there are a bunch of missions that have objectives other than "kill all the aliens" and often the objectives are time limited or something, so those sorts of things can mix the gameplay up and force you to take more risks which would help bring your casualties in line with the original.
Daisy = Day Z has been stuck in my headand possibly earlier so it was pretty easy to roll with it when the daisies started flying in the podcast.
I think most people shrug off that series' storytelling because it's transparently so they can come up with a bunch of different scenarios and shoehorn them together into a plot, with no concerns for character continuity because you're always switching. That said, it's weird when it comes to games but—as noted in the cast—not that weird compared to everything else which is why no one really gives it too much scrutiny.
A fuller answer may be that games have figured out how to sneak non-linear storytelling within the wider envelope of a linear plot: see the audio diaries in Bioshock, or even the mind levels in Psychonauts embodying that character's formative experiences.
"The game only came up with the narrative to justify the gameplay" describes much more than Call of Duty. BioShock's narrative, audio diaries and all, did not come first - the idea of ripping off System Shock came first, and the narrative only came much later. In fact, the audio diaries came before the narrative, because they're an element from System Shock.
I think you're right about that, and it's also a little sad that the Black Mesa team misses those little touches, but one of the virtues of BMS, I think, is that it brings those to light. It's a perfect tool for analyzing the original Half-Life, because you can look at those changes and think about (and talk about) their implications, what was left out, whether anything was improved, and so on. Certainly it's possible to analyze the brilliance of Half-Life without having to use BMS as the comparison class, but it's hard to deny that having BMS there is incredibly useful. Let's take your example about the train, for instance. I agree that the Half-Life way of doing it has much different implications than BMS' way of doing it, and that Half-Life's way is better. But some people wouldn't even think about that without noticing the contrast between Half-Life and BMS, and even if we would think about it even without BMS, having the contrast there can make it easier to realize what it meant for the original to do things the way it did things.
And although I agree that they missed a lot of stuff, I think they even improved on some things. The most pedestrian example I can think of is the choice to give the player more magnum ammo and to introduce the magnum earlier than the shotgun. I think that works better than Half-Life, where the magnum gets relegated to the "I wish I could use this more" pile pretty early and where it has to play second fiddle to the shotgun the entire time.
Oh man! yoyomabones' saved chatlog! That's amazing! Thank you so much!
Great episode guys, but I think this one really exemplified what is by FAR the worst part about Idle Thumbs. It's so good that it makes me not want to listen to any other podcasts. I started listening this summer and I'm all caught up now, and I can't find anything else to listen to that isn't a big disappointment
Jake seemed pretty hard on Black Mesa Source for only having played an hour of it. They didn't add iron sights to the guns - they only added them to the revolver, and even then it was because the revolver had the added zoom + accuracy secondary fire in HLDM so they decided to recreate that because they also play to recreate HLDM. I think BM:S is super well done and it's a really interesting remix of the original. For a game that in large parts I basically have memorized, it's really wonderful to see another team's take on it. Things like moving the crowbar location or changing the weapon order keep things fresh and more importantly help me reflect on the sorts of choices Valve made (and on the ones the BMS team made) because I now have a pretty good comparison. Because I don't make or test games I don't have a lot of opportunities to play for myself the difference between getting a weapon in place X and getting a weapon in place Y and it's neat to see how changing something like that ends up impacting my experience. There are lots of great touches, too, like how when you reach a ladder that the NPCs can't follow you on, they'll make some remark about it instead of just being left behind in silence.
The funicular conversation also had me in stitches. I suspect the word might be more common in other parts of the world, specifically those parts of the world where Deus Ex 3 was made. In fact I think it's pretty telling that the funicular in the game is in Montreal, the same city that the game was made in, so when they were recreating their city in the game they probably just referred to the funicular all the time because for people living in Montreal, saying "funicular" constantly is totally sensible when you live in a city with a funicular and are putting that very funicular into the game.
You don't, it's a lost cause, just play Skeleton King, he only has one skill to use.
A lot of my favorite games are mods: Natural Selection, The Specialists, NEOTOKYO°, Research & Development, Minerva, Day of Defeat, Project Reality, The Stanley Parable, Mistakes of Pythagoras, Someplace Else, Forgotten Hope 2, Mission: Improbable, MechWarrior: Living Legends, Mare Nostrum, Darkest Hour, Carpathian Crosses, Resistance and Liberation, Hostile Intent, Move In!, Vampire Slayer, The Ship, Science & Industry, BuzzyBots, Half-Life Bumper Cars, BrainBread, Insects Infestation... and then some even more obscure ones, like The Pit, Half-Life 2: Jaykin' Bacon Source, Holy Wars, Perfect Stride Continuum, Suicide Survival, or Surprise! HL.
Ugh. Now I'm in full on nostalgia mode. I don't know if we're ever going to see a game scene like the Half-Life 1 mod days. Those mods were more fun, original, and fresh than most of the stuff we see these days, and more importantly they were so popular because of a huge install base that was willing to try out new multiplayer stuff. Nowadays half of your audience will ignore your game if it doesn't have triple A graphics and another half of your audience will ignore it if they can't unlock new guns by earning achievements and XP. The days of being able to choose between a game of Science & Industry, Natural Selection, The Specialists, The Ship, or Brain Bread when I wanted to play multiplayer are long gone.
The single player mods, of course, still survive intact, and I highly recommend Planet Phillip for anyone who wants to find good Half-Life and Half-Life 2 single player levels. It's a great website.
Really, though, the line between a mod and a game is pretty blurred these days. I suppose a mod is something that requires that you buy the original game, but by those lights, Black Mesa is not a mod, really, because the Source SDK is free, and a lot of Unreal mods aren't really mods what with the stuff that UDK is doing. If Black Mesa is a mod then Gravity Bone is a mod, and if Gravity Bone is a mod, then I don't see what makes Thirty Flights of Loving a game instead of a mod except the price tag. So, yes, blurry distinctions abound.
And to get off my nostalgia train, I modded Oblivion and Skyrim to hell and back, and I'm going through a Fallout: New Vegas run with a ton of mods right now. I play Mount & Blade: Warband modded, and whenever I play KOTOR II it's with the restoration mod. I run old games like DooM and Duke Nukem 3d in new rendering engine thingies: I guess those are sort of mods (and the same goes for Arx Fatalis). And I mod X-COM with UFO Extender and XComUtil which makes it much less of a chore to play.
And to save Brendon Chung from plugging his shit, you can discover Blendo Games' heritage as a one man mod team right here.
The Metaphysics of Morrowind is a neat set of articles that examines those powers and some of the other eccentricities in the Elder Scrolls world(such as how every one of Daggerfall's seven possible endings occurred at once). They're definitely worth a read if that sort of thing interests you.
This is one of my favorite articles about a video game ever. The Elder Scrolls games, particularly Oblivion, always get a lot of flack for not having the strongest narratives or the most interesting characters or conversations, but the universe they are set in is a real gem with some genuinely weird and interesting stuff. From their justification for why Oblivion is set in a generic European forest rather than a jungle to the Ghost Wall and space travel, there's a lot of flavor living in everything that enhances the experience. Sure, maybe it would be neat if we could also somehow have interesting characters, main plot lines, etc. but the Elder Scrolls games, the latest ones no less so than the earlier ones, are good for so much more than just wandering around finding caves and looting bandits and leveling up.
This mod is awesome. I've made it up to Blast Pit so far and everything has been wonderful. It has exceeded my expectations.
I have Flash set to not load in Opera until I click on it. That breaks the streaming on the episode pages. I don't really mind that, but what is kind of weird is that when I click "play" it says that I need Flash enabled if I want to listen in Firefox. I'm not using Firefox! I'm using Opera >:-|.
Yeah I know, I love those games too, but it was 14 years ago. FOURTEEN! You can have a mildly intelligent conversation with someone born when Fallout 2 came out at this point and they haven't done anything "good" since.
Anyway, not going to crap this up, the game might actually be interesting but I'll see how it shapes up when it's done before I hand any money over.
Alpha Protocol and New Vegas are my two favorite RPGs in recent memory. Dungeon Siege III was apparently pretty good and someday I will get around to play NWN 2:MotB, which was apparently also great. KOTOR II is one of my all time favorite games. So between that, PS:T, Fallout + FO2, and so on... yeah, I backed this before I even watched the video or read the Kickstarter page.
Yes, they stopped accepting game submissions and told people to wait for Greenlight. Escape Goat got hit with this, I believe. To The Moon just squeaked by somehow.
I'm excited about this, but wary that it may be all-too common high-fantasy fare. Part of my soul dies every time I see an elf in furs with a longbow. An elf in an evening suit with a crowbar, however, might be more palatable.
Though I love infinity-engine games, I feel like RPG-makers have been a bit too slavish in trying to recreate them. With BG: Enhanced edition coming out and what-not, I just hope they can do something more than cash in on nostalgia.
Here's what Feargus Urquhart says about your high fantasy worries:Feargus: We talked a lot about the genre and to be honest we kept on coming back to fantasy. With all the experience we have had with a lot of varied fantasy settings, we are really looking for to taking our unique approach with factions, characters and mature themes to the setting. Ultimately, we really feel that what an RPG is about is the characters and the story – not the setting. Hit points are hit points whether you are killing past, present or future zombies. What engages and what keeps you going in an RPG are characters that you love and hate and story lines that tug at your emotions.
And here's what Josh Sawyer says:
One of the reasons I made the blog updates I did earlier in the week was because I wanted folks to get the *~ vibe ~* of how we approach a) world-building in general and fantasy. If you haven't seen them, they're here:
Considering that this is the studio behind KOTOR II, which was a philosophical deconstruction of the entire Star Wars mythos while simultaneously being a Star Wars game, I think they can handle fantasy without making it stupid. Also, on twitter, Josh Sawyer makes another very interesting point about fantasy as a setting.
The stealth stuff is pretty well hidden - it seems like you have to kill 80 guys to get to your target and 80 to get away, but I'm pretty sure almost all the assassinations can be completed without killing anyone other than the target. And of course in the large fights, you can always use unarmed counters to disarm your enemies rather than killing them.
Very much so, although you can avoid killing guards almost entirely in the other games, so it might be like that in AC3 also.
Welcome to the wonderful world of roguelike-likes! Enjoy your stay until you die.
The violence in the previous games was more styalised. I think one and two did a good job of implying a lot of the nastiness while remaining tasteful with good sound design, dance like choreography and pretty arcs of blood. Three appears to be more explicit and sadistic. The combat has become a lot easier and less methodical over the years and I'm not comfortable that my character will now automatically do despicable things. This discomfort will likely be amplified by the plot moralising and justifying murder.
I think it's fairly safe to say that a game about an assassin is going to make at least a few inroads into justifying murder, yes.
Obsidian's Kickstarting their next game. It's a party based isometric fantasy RPG. Tim Cain, Chris Avellone, and Josh Sawyer are all in on the fun, it's set in a brand new fantasy universe, and they've made $100k in like, 30 minutes or something. Pretty nuts. I'm super pumped - Obsidian makes my favorite RPGs and I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do without the constraints of a publisher telling them that it won't sell if they don't put in enough blood to let the marketers make a trailer set to Marilyn Manson's declarations that "this is the new shit." There's a bit more info in this interview with Feargus Urquhart and this one with Chris Avellone which includes this gem:
"Project: Eternity is our opportunity to FINALLY develop our own fantasy RPG world and franchise," Obsidian's Avellone told me in an e-mail this week. "FINALLY. Did I say FINALLY enough? One more time: FINALLY.
"It's not like we've had any lack of ideas, only a lack of opportunity or anyone who wanted to finance it. Then Kickstarter came along and a door opened—this was FINALLY our chance to sidestep the publisher model and get financing directly from the people who want to play an Obsidian RPG. I'd much rather have the players be my boss and hear their thoughts for what would be fun than people who might be more distant from the process and the genre and frankly, any long-term attachment to the title."
My problem isn't historical. The tedious claims to historical authenticity are almost as bad as genetic time traveling bullshit. I'm not sure how the art team approached the first game but it felt to me that the character was designed for the setting and vise versa. Maybe it is a factor of Ubisoft's enormously fragmented development process but I think the visual cohesion of the first and second games have been abandoned.
The idea that the assassins accountramenss would survive from the first to second game makes sense (I believe it is stated that Ezio's outfit was passed down to him from Altair). I'm not sure how they will explain how the outfit has ended up in 18th century America.
The only part of the outfit that survived is the eagle shaped hood. Maybe someone wrote down in a book or a letter "assassins wore eagle shaped hoods" and then someone made Connor an eagle shaped hood. That would even explain why it's more obviously eagle shaped than the ones in AC1 and AC2: because they didn't have the ACTUAL original hood to go on, they had to just wing it and they ended up overdoing the eagleness.
I've always enjoyed the art design in the Assassin's Creed games and AC3 looks like it's going to be beautiful too. I don't really feel like the aesthetic has been diluted: it just looks like it has been updated for 18th century America. Some dilution happened in Brotherhood and Revelations (and even in AC2) just by the nature of all the crazy Renaissance stuff they added, so if anything AC3 feels toned down.
He's half Native American. It would've been historically authentic if he had worn an actual eagle on his head, let alone an embroidered one. Here is a painting from the early 1800s showing an Native American wearing a shirt embroidered just like Connor's. The hood is the most Assassin-esque part of his costume - the rest is based of course on the coats that everyone else is wearing.
Wonderful cast. I actually turned it off near the end before you started talking about the "documents" because I had to stop watching the livestream partway through and I figure I should check the rest of that out first.
But, with respect to the rest of the podcast, I agree with the Greenlight discussion 100% (and incidentally I'm glad to hear Chris say he doesn't like the new Steam community stuff: I haven't heard opinions on it one way or the other, but I thought I was probably the odd one out for thinking it's no good). Greenlight is just tailor made for certain kinds of games, and although I really look forward to playing games like Black Mesa or Routine, which are Greenlight success stories, I really really enjoy games like Thirty Flights of Loving which really ought to be just shoved into someone's hands with zero information.
Interestingly enough, another game like that, The Stanley Parable, is making an HD/expanded version (like Dear Esther) did, and it wants to be on Steam (like Dear Esther is), so it has to be on Greenlight. But the developer, because he is an amazing person, has completely subverted the Greenlight page as a way to pitch his game that completely subverts video games. So, I guess that is the right way to do Greenlight for these kinds of games. Too bad not every game can sell itself as an ironic subversion.
long time reader first time poster. I'm 28 and I enjoy the video games and the fiction. I joined the forums to join in the book club discussion.
um so i guess thats it
Bonus points for referring to yourself as a reader rather than a listener.
If you want to play Arx Fatalis, you get it for free on Steam if you preorder Dishonored. gog.com also sells it. If you play it, make sure to play it with Arx Libertatis.
XCOM Enemy Unknown
in Strategy Game Discussion
I meant it was stripped to the basics of atmosphere and tactics. You could strip away the atmosphere by replacing the graphics, sound, and writing, and then you'd be down to just tactics. Everything about Frozen Synapse screams its cyberpunk setting at me with unusual fidelity, from the excellent soundtrack to the way none of the vatforms have names or any personality beside the blood that spurts out when they die.