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About ilitarist

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  1. Thank you! Poor Russian localization of basically everything is probably a biggest reason I've learned English when I was a kid. And yes, English is a big problem in Russian speaking countries. Or maybe it's that Eastern Europe people aren't content to stay in the Russian part of the internet. I'm pretty sure that Blood localization was unnoficial product but there were many games like Gorky-17 that were released with a reinterpreted story. Or, say, that old Larry adult quest replaced copy protection with test on old Soviet movies to check if you're old enough. So I don't think it was done for the sake of censorship in games. Usually pirates just had their fun or localizers thought they can write a better story.
  2. I have not listened to the podcast yet but I can't wait to share the most important fact about this movie. I've watched it this year when it was mentioned in a 3MA podcast (probably Patreon Special but I'm not sure). My mother tongue is Russian and when I've looked for it I saw a release with a Soviet dub made back at the time of release when this movie was running in soviet cinemas. It sounded great, back then Soviets imported few movies and when they did they tried to localize them well. Then I did a little research and discovered that several scenes in the movie were heavily censored in an interesting way. There's a point when Philip, king of France, talks to Henry, king of England, about his son Richard, later known as Lionheart. Philip asks what would Henry think of "sodomy| and describes how Richard made some blatant suggestions on the matter. Richard is eavesdropping on the conversation and jumps out to deny the accusation. In the Soviet dub, there's none of it. Instead, Philip talks about Richard planning a murder of Henry, asking Philip if he wants to avenge his father, and there's a complex story about Richard planning on informing Philip on a specific date of Henry's hunt so that Philip could "accidentally" shoot him. It felt very natural, maybe Henry was a little too calm hearing that his son was planning his murder. The point is, the rivalry between Henry and Louis VII isn't really even mentioned in the movie. I imagine that some soviet movie people had decided they want to run this movie but there's a problem of some forbidden themes in it. And they've gathered some historians and writers to invent a whole subplot to replace homosexuality with patricide.
  3. Interesting discussion about brainless AI in the end. I think my most memorable strategy gaming moments where all about dumb enemies, hordes of them. Clever singleplayer missions like in StarCraft 2 campaign often feel like a puzzle where you spend half a minute on figuring it out and then 20 minutes on doing mechanical actions being bored. Games like XCOM try to keep you on the edge with every fight being against a cunning opponent, a single mistake can cost you everything. But plenty of tactical/strategic games have dumb AI in their core even if it's not appropriate thematically. Like Fire Emblem, for most of the time you have static enemies that attack you when you get close, and the trick is to overcome enemy numbers. Come to think of it, even early wargames gravitated towards scenarios like Germany attacking USSR - you're playing as a smaller better-equipped army against a passive numerous forces. So I'd be fine with Pandarens being dumb.
  4. Don't know about essentials, I think Eador does the opposite - throws a lot of stuff on top on HoMM or Civ or AoW system. Like every damn character has level ups and complex stats, and you can have a couple of dozens characters in an army, and there are several armies you lead, and then there are garrisons, and the combat is more complex than in HoMM (roughly on the same level of complexity as AoW). And the province management is on CK2/EU4 level of complexity, plus your capital has up to a hundred buildings, I think. This game is also unstable and buggy, but its biggest sin is pacing. You didn't finish it and neither did anyone else cause it has a very long campaign, and all of it consists from random free for all fights.
  5. 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.
  6. Three Moves Ahead Episode 480: 1999

    The file download has "mp" type instead of "mp3".
  7. Here's Michael Valentine referred to as Dr. Disrespect. I remember at one point Rob was very dismissive about Age of Wonders 3, saying that Endless Legend was the only good 4X (apart from Civ series probably) and saying AoW3 is not close. And it's objectively wrong! AoW3 is one of the best 4X games ever, and I'd argue the only one (before AoWPF at least) that realized the player dream of tactical combat inside of an empire-building game. Even Total War series is not as good with balancing it (maybe 3K is close). AoW3 was perfectly playable in auto-resolve multiplayer mode but opened up a whole new layer with tactical combat. Another thing that podcast made me think about is how many of the later 4X games dismiss progress. In Civilization, Beyond Earth, Galactic Civilizations, fantasy Stardock 4X Fallen Enchantress, even Stellaris - and you observe grand changes. You're not just a bigger empire with bigger ships but is not recognizable. In Beyond Earth or Stellaris you all transform to robots and maybe live in ringworlds, in Fallen Enchantress the very fabric of earth bends under your command and your troops are now wearing magical full plate. But in Endless series or Age of Wonders it's just numerical increments, you don't change the world. Even if Legend/Space tech description talks about some grand change - you play recognizably the same guys as you had on turn 1. Cultural or biological identity of all of those people is far more important than any technological advancement. It's not Star Trek but rather Star Wars or Dune space medieval stasis. Not sure if this says anything about the state of our current culture or its just a trend that today players value difference in starting factions more than potential variety of development.
  8. It was fun to listen to. Surprised how you guys talk about common anime tropes as if it's something specific to Japanese games you've experienced. Those one-note characters turning out to have huge backstories is what happens in every anime ever. You mentioned Valkyria Chronicles 4 again, specifically an episode where one of your soldiers behaves like a drunken brat and doesn't get shot. I haven't played this game so I may be missing a lot of context, but what I've liked about VC1 was its approach to its character flaws. It's still a heroic war story but it goes beyond usual "this is not as black and white as it seems" tropes like "our politicians are greedy" or "or allies are into that realpolitik thing". Some of the main characters are vocal racists, as well as soldiers you can hire. Not to the point of evil enemy empire racist so they don't approve ethnic cleansing, but it's still there and directly affects gameplay: you either ignore those characters or stop using your story minority characters. You and your main character have to deal with it, it's an army you got. It's not the focus of the story but it makes them much more believable. It's certainly a much more honest approach than, say, your typical American WW2 movie (or any historical movie, really) which is either specifically about segregation in arms or completely ignores probably views of most of its heroes. Anyway, Fire Emblem. I've played 2 games on Game Boy Advance and I'm a little puzzled by your praises. Cause most of what you're talking about was there already. Perhaps the story was simpler. They both had your typical stories about throne usurpation by evil vizier or foreign empire. IIRC both had ancient evil influencing the villain who was a decent person once, and in both games, a lot of good people fought on the enemy side because of allegiance and past glory and alike. The first game was linear with some minor variations depending on what you do in tactical missions. You could hire a lot of characters if you visit the right places during tactical battles, or move the right person close to a named enemy so you can talk and sway them to your side. The second one had a grand story branch early in a game. You still played the same side but you chose to go with one of the siblings, a prince or a princess. You get different characters and a different story. This game also had optional grinding and character bonds. Some characters can become friends if they fight together and you get a unique dialogue and bonuses for them. Those were good games and I'm a little surprised you get very few games like that on PC. Chess with a lot of characters. We have Jagged Alliance and some of it clones like Silent Storm, but apart from that?.. Plenty of XCOMs or Darkest Dungeon or Battle Brothers, but all of those feature random characters, hard to relate to those. Most tactical games with a big character roster are short roguelikes like Invisible Inc or Into the Breach or Renowned Explorers. There are also tactical RPGs, of course, but those usually reward you with sticking to a limited number of characters and don't have a lot of them. Even when a similar game comes from consoles it's Disgaea which mostly relies on generated characters and has, ahem, questionable gameplay. Strange! Sorry for the wall of text. This episode was evocative.
  9. Three Moves Ahead 476: Pericles

    The problem with those kinds of shows is they're significantly less international than the rest. Here in Eastern Europe, I can't get those more niche boardgames. Even if I order them internationally I'll have to convince my friends to play in English and few are comfortable with that, those games are complex enough even when there's no language barrier. Not saying those shows are bad. Just make one envious.
  10. So last time Rob really meant "next week"! Always nice to hear Dr. Bruce Geryk greeting even if I usually don't know anything about those boardgames. Tom Chick was also mentioned, sad he's not appearing here anymore.
  11. I think the best historical games stray from simulating history itself but instead focus on circumstances of it all. Someone on the podcast said a similar thing, but not quite. Games like Colonization, Vietnam'65 or Afghanistan'11 - and even Civilization in a way. They don't put nations and armies where they were, they allow you to play your own colonizations or vietnams that follow historical rules but happen on another Earth. Another thing is the level of abstraction. Technically everything that happened in history can happen in Civilization (maybe except the appearance of new civs mid-game) because it operates on a higher level. Weird coups, conquests, rebellions and inheritance systems only work through special events in EU4 and especially CK2. In Civ you can assume all of this happens in the background. Your bonuses when you play as Russia reflect special inheritance system, feudal fragmentation and cultural nuances, but when you play as Russian count in CK2 it's obvious that you don't get real inheritance system or unique government types.
  12. It's probably cause Michael the Wizard is on vacation and someone else does audio editing. They didn't think about adding all of this technical stuff probably.
  13. Everybody noticed! Gather your strength and then force them to talk about AI Wars 2 or some Japanese weird strategy RPG.
  14. You made this game sound interesting even if you didn't like it in the end. As I understand it's not even Pirates! style minigame game cause there's no single central hub game for it all. A visual novel can't be a central mechanic, can't it? I'm also tired of games that portray some complex issue and then think they're looking smart by not really saying about it. Everyone talks about how Ubisoft does it with their games not being political, and the example I remember the most is Deus Ex Human Revolution with its ghetto for enhanced people in Prague, a hero being harassed for his implants, separate train wagons for people like him etc - and with a game proudly saying that it doesn't want to take a stance.
  15. Great discussion. I liked that discussion of what a game like that could be and which socio-political issues it could tackle. Especially with you all acknowledging that lack of those doesn't make the game itself worse, devs do the game they want to do. I've only played Anno 1404 but I remember its story being similarly simplistic and cartoonish. There was an evil cardinal who says you should go for a crusade. But then it turns out Pope didn't really sanction it, and Vizir you meet is a really nice guy, so you beat your companion, overly zealous lady knight, till she understands the power of friendship and it's all kumbaya.