• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About murdocj

  • Rank
  1. Idle Weekend July 2, 2017 - Bleacher Bums

    I only midway thru the episode but I have to stop listening for a bit so I wanted to get in a couple of comments. First, I only listen sporadically, so I was wondering if anyone could summarize in a sentence or two why Rob moved west for a year and then back to Boston... was this all part of "the plan"? Or did it just work out? Second, I had a similar experience, where although I stayed in the same area, I left a longtime software job, switched to a different job (literally across the street) and then came back after a year and a half. And it was disorienting... people were working on new projects, a whole new software system was being developed, etc etc. Somehow I thought time would have stood still and I would just slide right into place, and even though my friends were still there, they had moved on, and I needed to catch up. Third, I find it ironic that Rob and Danielle talked quite about about how racist "those white people" are. And least but not least, how SF fans regard Oakland fans. I grew up in the area, I was a Giants / 49ers fan, my cousins were A's / Raiders fans. We were all white. But when it came to sports we definitely looked down on each other. The A's / Raiders always had the "bad boys" feel, so we SF fans felt the folks across the bay were uncouth, and they probably felt we were too straitlaced. And of course the Bay Area isn't the hugest metro area, so it had trouble supporting multiple teams, which meant it was really annoying when the Giants were struggling and the A's were doing well and drawing huge crowds. So again, not necessarily sign of evil white racism.
  2. I have the hoarding problem too in games... always saving potions, ammo, bandages, whatever. Like Rob I'm afraid I'll get to some point and be utterly stuck. And here's some long comments on the software dev discussion because I've been thru a couple of different flavors of Agile at several companies, including Scrum and Kanban. As R&D said Agile is a reaction to the rigid form of Waterfall, where you had to complete each step (specification, design, implementation, testing) before starting the next step. The goal with Waterfall is to make sure you are delivering what the customer wants to avoid rework, but because each step is so huge, it can be years before the customer sees the result, and the requirements may have changed by then. In Scrum teams operate in fixed chunks of time, called sprints. A sprint is always the same length, generally 2, 3 or 4 weeks. At the start of each sprint, the team picks off the work it can accomplish in that sprint, and by the end of the sprint, the work is done and tested. The customer sees what has been accomplished and can react to it. The idea is that you can do a course correction fairly rapidly if the requirements change. Kanban is similar, but is structured around the individual features rather than fixed lengths of time. The problem you run into with Agile is that people focus on very short term goals and lose track of the bigger picture. Items that are necessary but bigger get deferred because they don't really fit into the neat little Agile timeboxes. I recently worked on a system where a bunch of features had been added over time, each one of which made sense on its own, but together the result was literally incoprehensible. Even the manager who was supposedly managing the project had no idea how it worked. I ended up writing a summary for the product manager to try to boil it down to the essentials, and it was still hard to figure out. That's what happens when you don't have an overall picture of where you are going. As Rob said it comes down to the people more than the methodology. Danielle's comment about "no silver bullet" reminded me of a paper by that name written by Fred Brooks, who managed the first really large software development project. His book "Mythical Man Month" is a dated but very readable collection of essays on software dev. Lots of great quotes, e.g. "It takes 9 months to have a baby, no matter how many women you assign to the job".
  3. For games where you don't have direct control I immediately thought of Majesty. I have mixed feelings about it... I enjoyed the overall experience but seemed kind of repetitious after a bit. It was fun seeing your little guys making decisions or going off to buildings you had made for them so they could train up.
  4. I'm still in the middle of listening to this episode but just wanted to comment a little on the discussion on Banner Saga 2. I seem to be the only person on the planet who preferred Saga 1 over 2. Rob gave a good analysis as to why he thought 2 was the better game, which kind of makes me feel like I missed a lot as I was playing. It took me a long time to finish it off, and with gaps in my playtime I think I lost the thread of the story. The main reason I had such gaps is that I just didn't connect with the characters the way I did in Banner Saga 1. I really cared about the story with Rook and Alette and Hakon and Iver and Ubin in Saga 1. In Saga 2 I just didn't care so much about their story, and about people like Bolverk. And some of the story felt like very artificial twists: "hah, you thought Eyvind was good, guess what, he's evil! You thought the dredge were evil, guess what, they're just poor refugees!" Somehow the story just felt like plot twists for the sake of plot twists in a way that didn't engage me. Anyway, I'm just tossing this out there... just curious if anyone else had the same reaction. I absolutely loved Saga 1 and felt rather disappointed by Saga 2. At some point I think I'll go back and make an effort to play Saga 2, or at least a chunk of it, at a steadier pace to see if I get into it more.
  5. This doesn't have anything to do with the episode, but I'm casting about for games for blind people. My girlfriend's daughter is a college-age blind person, and I was wondering if there were any computer games that would be fun for her. I was thinking that card games like Hearthstone might be reasonable if they have a usable interface, since it doesn't require reaction time (as far as I know). Anyway, if anyone has any pointers I'd appreciate it.
  6. A question about Myst: I've heard several times the story of how Myst was highly acclaimed, and eventually then panned and dethroned. I absolutely loved it and was wondering how it came to fall. I recall buying it with a friend (who wasn't a gamer) for my parents' Apple computer while I was visiting my old hometown. My friend and I started playing mid-morning. Somewhere around 8pm we decided we better go out and get some food, having played all day. We actually battled over control of the mouse and had to use a timer of about 2 minutes to end the (friendly) arguments. It was a gorgeous game with wonderful atmosphere and puzzles that were hard but "fair" (meaning that they could be figured out, they didn't require luck, incredibly arcane knowledge, or pixel hunting). It literally took me months to complete the game and it drove me nuts but I loved it. So what's the story on how the consensus shifted? Why on earth did this great game become a pariah? And since I just recently started listening and went back to earlier episodes, I want to also comment on Banner Saga. Loved that game, and I disagree with the podcast comments that the game lacked depth. It's true that the basic fighting is kind of straightforward but positioning and taking advantage of each character's abilities made the battles lots of fun. I played it thru twice and kept discovering little nuances as I went thru.
  7. Episode 338: Legion Wargames

    I enjoyed the episode. But I don't play board wargames, and so I have some basic questions about what makes the difference between these games. What goes into a game that's more than "this unit has this much offense, this much defense, can move this many hexes, has this much morale, etc"? It's maybe too basic for 3MA but even a 10 minute sidetrack discussion would probably provide a lot of information. I was thinking back over some of the older episodes and maybe answered my own question. For example the Vietnam game that was discussed a while back where what you did affected your "political capital" back home.
  8. 3MA has a Patreon

    I became a backer in early November and since then I've gotten a couple of notices that new polls are up, and a notice each time a new episode is posted. So about 6 in just about a month, which is fine with me.
  9. Episode 332: Chaos Reborn

    I agree that getting that intuition about whether it's worth "taking the shot" takes time. Certainly in XCOM it took a while before I had some feeling about whether I wanted to take that 50% shot. I'm just not seeing how knowing the actual roll is going to help develop that intuition. I'd contrast that with knowing WHY you have a 50% chance. For example, in XCOM where you can bring up a screen when you have an enemy targeted that shows that flanking the enemy has given you x% more chance to hit, but the enemy is above you decreasing your chance by y%, etc. That information is pure gold. It helps you know how you should be setting the situation on the battlefield. I have a feeling there's a bit of confusion here between knowing what your percentage chance is, and knowing why you have that percentage. Hmmm... maybe I'm wrong... it's been known to happen.
  10. Episode 332: Chaos Reborn

    As always, really fun to listen to. Always love the depth of the discussion. But I have to disagree with Bruce's insistence that knowing the die roll isn't just a personal preference, it somehow provides information for playing the game. Bruce is clearly a smarter guy than me, but in this one case he's definitely wrong. When you have a 70% chance, you have a 70% chance. The fact that on a previous roll, you needed the extra 20% is utterly irrelevant (assume the die rolls are pretty much random, they better be). The liking for knowing the exact die roll is exactly the same as Rob not liking the way magic casts fail.
  11. Episode 232: Sid Meier's Gettysburg!

    Damn you guys, I just bought a copy on Amazon, no idea if it will even play on my system. You make these games sound so luscious I can't hold back, and I'm fascinated by Gettysburg, enjoyed walking the battlefield a few years back (on a hot July day, no less).
  12. Episode 215: Early Access

    I'm still early in this podcast but I have one comment about the meaning of "beta". Rob was talking about how blizzard puts out "betas" that are finished products, and he considers betas to be more "work in progress". Really, the original meaning of beta IS "this is a finished product, we've done the internal alpha testing, we've shaken out the bugs we can shake out, now it's ready for a wider audience". A "beta" should be a feature complete, almost ready to ship product. It seems like the meaning of beta has been twisted into "pre-alpha", which is unfortunate.