Though he never got a chance to quicklook it, Ryan himself (thankfully not realizing Vinny had already brought the gamejam one on as already mentioned) did happen to play the full Steam release version of Surgeon Sim on another Unprofessional Fridays feature a few weeks back. If you're a subscriber (and you should be dammit) it can be found here; the segment starts at about the hour 18 minute mark, and it is of course a fun time as any playing of SS2013 must be. While I'm at it, it seems kind of appropriate here to link to another Unprofessional Fridays where Ryan plays Thumbs favorite Cart Life, beginning at around 42 minutes in. It's one of the bits that's been popping into my mind since learning of his passing as his earnest, sincere, and simple praise for the game such a wonderful, low-key counterpoint to the many bits more hilarious and bombastic, but equally wonderful bits being shared in the wake of this worst news. I feel like it might be easy for those with just a casual, surface-level exposure of the guy might easily jump to the impression that he was a "games are just for fun, like wackiness and gory murder!" goofball (something he actually covered almost 5(!) years ago in a great super-early GB video review of Braid), which would be fine. But no: Ryan didn't just give a pass to stuff because it was trying to "meaningful" or "art", but he didn't disregard it either. He simply demanded that it be actually be GOOD at doing what it was trying to do. Ryan David was clearly just such a real, awesome dude. Thanks for sharing the words, Thumbs.
Officer Meatbeef posted a topic in Multiplayer NetworkingShort intro: I'm looking for decent folks to play the Versus Mode of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, and it even turns out the official player matching system on PC is (shockingly) still up! If that's good enough for you, you can skip straight to the bold bit down there. Otherwise, read on and I'll try to explain why the hell I'd be trying so hard to find players for a nearly decade-old multiplayer mode. Is it really that special? Yes. So recently, there's been some promo info released for the new Splinter Cell (Blacklist, a game that I otherwise held essentially negative interest in) that's actually gotten me interested. I hope/suspect anyone who hears "Classic Spies Vs. Mercs" and knows what that could represent automatically feels the same excitement, here's some background on why it should if you have absolutely any interest in stealth-based games, tense teamwork-based gameplay, or simply playing something completely different from pretty much anything else: Splinter Cell is (well, sadly moreso was?) unquestionably one of the very best stealth-based game franchises, and very likely the best with a modern, realistic setting. Although they never quite matched the heights of the first two Thiefs for me (though I'm playing through Chaos Theory for the very first time right now and it's holding up exceptionally well) and the series has (again, IMHO) termendously lost its way over the most recent instalments, they can make one massive and absolute claim of superiority over anything else in a very special area. For the second and third entry in the series, Ubisoft endeavored to pull off what I think many (certainly myself) couldn't imagine would ever work: translating the core gameplay of "use your mobility, gadgets, and wits to accomplish your objectives stealthily such that nobody (conscious or alive at least) knew you were there" into a competitive multiplayer setting. Astoundingly, they pulled it off: the result was the truly unique, never-replicated Versus modes of Pandora Tomorrow (and subsequently tweaked/perfected with Chaos Theory): "Spies Vs. Mercs". They pulled off this feat with an intimate match setup (2 Spies, 2 Mercs) and some truly brilliant asymmetrical design: though the Spies play in the standard SC third-person view, Mercs play through a first-person perspective and, although heavily armed, their lack of mobility significantly impacts where they can go and how quickly they can do it. So even though Mercs naturally have to know Spies are SOMEWHERE, the athleticism of well-played spies mean that "somewhere" could be nearly, well, anywhere. And chances are, they can see you from wherever they're at. But Mercs also don't have to worry about completing objectives beyond "kill the spies before they can complete THEIR objectives", and every map has a variety of defenses working for the Mercs to help them do just that. Working and communicating with your partner is essential, and the game even brilliantly integrates comms into the gameplay by providing both sides with multiple ways to "hack" their opponent's comms and hear just what they're up to. After the severely simplified and pretty much totally botched VS mode of Double Agent, and the mode being completely dropped from Conviction, Blacklist claims to be returning to "Classic Spies Vs. Mercs". The jury is still out on that one; impressions from big Chaos Theory VS fans who got to play it recently were very positive, but taken from limited playtime in a promotional setting, while the promo vids released seem to say and do many of the right things while simultaneously showing things like a Spy chain-killing two Mercs, subsequently improving his "Killstreak". Hmmmmm. This isn't really about Blacklist though. Regardless of how it turns out, the mention served to remind me how much I loved PT's Versus and that I never got to play the tweaks and new maps they added for CT, and subsequently I learned that CT Versus' official matchmaking service was (shockingly) still going, and (perhaps even more shockingly) there are still often a fair few people looking to play! Most seem to significantly outmatch me in skill (understandable when I haven't played since PT came out a decade ago!), but that's ok. One advantage of the tight 2v2 design is that you only need a few people for a full-fledged experience. The troubling part is I have yet to encounter anyone who communicates besides a few terse words typed in chat. Often something about "noobs". Ugh. Not only does this render the extremely cool "comms hacking" element of the design useless, it significantly impacts one of the key joys of the game: coordinating with your partner to get the job done. That's why I've posted here, in the hope that Thumbs peoples will be both more interested in playing an older game that remains utterly unique than some, AND doing so in a respectful and communicative way. Skill levels don't matter; in fact it'd be ideal for ME if we all were going in pretty much equally out of any practice, because everyone just trying to fumble their way through a few matches is certainly the most fun way to learn this thing anyway. If you are an old CT master or even one of the crazies still playing though, that's fine too; communication (and patience from the less green) is all that I'm looking for. If you're interested, tip #1 is that Chaos Theory can be purchased on Steam for $10 if you don't have it or lost your copy, Then, check out this page which contains links to helpful stuff and info on the important tweaks you'll probably need to get Versus working like it should on today's systems (basically just an optional means of enabling higher resolutions and a more essential bit to make sure Merc flashlights work right). There's also a Steam Group ("spiesvsmercs") you can join with posts concerning those and other issues, including an alternate means of creating games through a LAN emulator called "Tuungle" that I haven't tried yet but apparently is somewhat popular for this game and provides better network performance for some. Really though, right now I'm just trying to find out if there's any interest here, so please don't hesitate to post here just to show your interest and we can work out how we'll get games together after that. And of course, if you are interested but have other questions/concerns, I'll be happy to try and answer them.