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About McDoom

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  1. I think it was Chris who mentioned a few hours being the time that somebody can pay attention to a game and maybe that's why movies are as long as they are. As a person who would prefer to play games that don't outstay their welcome, I think there is something to this observation, especially in the current climate of open world bonanzas. Although I don't think it's a hard cap like 122 minutes. Human attention spans have become notoriously short, and if you think someone is going to give you two hours of their time for your art project, then you may be living in a Utopian fantasy. (I don't mean for art project to sound derogatory, but we're talking about fictional make-em-ups that are asking people for time and money.) I think the real problem is pacing. I hear the term gameplay loop get tossed around a lot on these podcasts, but rarely the term narrative loop. These open world games with story driving "main missions" and then 10 times as many side quests are just begging to be broken in a narrative sense. Yet games have trained us to look in every corner and read every note/audio log/blood graffiti. If I can invoke FarCry 2 here, I think one of the reasons it works so well, is that there isn't a lot of optional detritus that pulls you away from the main thread. Sure, you can go after all the diamonds, but there's no cutscene reward where the Jackal thanks you and weeps. "I thought I'd lost all my preciouses." You don't even clear (read: check off) the outposts, they are just part of a larger adventure. Anyway, I think the player, viewer, reader needs a kickstart to their attention span more like every 7 minutes. Even Moby Dick is broken up into fairly brief chapters, and that is a sprawling mess of a novel, but it has been assembled carefully into a flowing narrative. Imagine if GTA V was the story of 3 criminals who do heists, retire, and then read 100 pages about cetacean phylogenetics. TLDR: I'm old and don't have time for all your mini-games, but I am intrigued by a few side quests that round out your larger world.
  2. Thanks for a great first year of podcasts and a wonderful introduction into Esports. I don't find much time to watch matches, but watching the International was a pretty magical experience. As someone who found even the newcomer stream a bit above my level, there were great stories there with the young hotshot Sumail and old man Fear, and then the aftermath of kicking out Aui2000. Thanks for putting all these narratives in an understandable context. For some reason it's way more interesting to me than pro athletes. I think what I really want is a closer look at the day-to-day life of Esports players off the stage. The Dota 2 documentary kind of brought that to light, but it seems like there's way more that could be done. I would definitely pay money to go behind the scenes of an Esports team like Evil Geniuses or of an almost champion like ByuL, but I'm probably only one of three people who would. That podcast intro still makes my day.
  3. Jake: Is 2015 ready for dickmonsters? Cut to Tychus Findlay in a Starcraft II cinematic..."Hell, it's about time."
  4. Project Eternity, Obsidian's Isometric Fantasy RPG

    Finished this the other night on normal. Overall, I'm really pleased with the game. I was really high on the game after the first half, having poopsocked it over a weekend, but in the last third I kind of ran out of steam and some of the more obnoxious parts of combat started to get on my nerves. I appreciate that there's a slow mode, but things still seemed to change really fast before I could respond. I'm probably just too old for real-time combat. However, I do kind of want to go back through on hard with a new character to dig deeper into the combat system. Also, while I really liked the dialogue, the way it was structured seemed odd. I'd select a response that I thought would move the plot forward, but then I would get returned to the same branch until I chose the "right" answer that would actually progress the story. As reductive as some of the BioWare dialogue wheels are, at least they match my intent pretty closely. Also, anybody else hear the Lord of the Rings theme in the music?
  5. Project Eternity, Obsidian's Isometric Fantasy RPG

    I recently started this game after finally pushing myself to complete BG I+II. Reading through this thread, I suppose I don't have much to add, but wowzers! this game really hit the spot. After playing those old infinity engine games, PoE seems to address pretty much all the problems I had with the archaic UI and AD&D combat systems. At a certain point, each of the BG games turned into a slog and it felt like I was just trudging through a swamp of outdated mechanics to get to the story. I feel like those old games don't really hold up, but are very interesting as historical curiosities, so what a joy that PoE feels so modern and refreshing. It seems like a major coup that this game is so good. It's as if 2015 is becoming the year of things that are way better than they have any right to be. I wonder what obsidian will do next on the back of this success. It seemed like things were pretty dire before the kickstarter, but I hope they keep working in this vein. Maybe it's because I just played a bunch of 15 year-old games, but the maps have some really striking art and the way the lighting and animated effects play over it really help inject a little life in there. So nice to have good pathfinding after watching characters continually walk into walls in the BG games. It took hours of running around before I heard "You must gather your party before venturing forth." One of my favorite things is to send my party across a map and hit the period key to just sit back and watch them take the shortest route in military lock step. I'm enjoying the combat, and maybe that's due to playing an updated version of the game. The new system was pretty daunting at first, but it all seems pretty intuitive after some time. Positioning seems super key and in some of the more open environments a few enemies getting past the front line can just rip apart those ranged softies before I know what's going on. Also, I've never cared much about simple text in games, but taking the time to read through everything really seems to pay off. The big draw for me is the exploration and the art, but there is some great use of language here. Reading a post mortem on BGII, one of the things they were aiming for was short dialogue segments so the player wouldn't have to click through a ton of lines, and PoE seems to totally break this in a fantastic way where the writing feels rich and enlivening rather than bloated and indulgent. And the voice acting sounds great when it happens. Not that it just seems well-acted, but that the audio quality is high fidelity. Anyway, I wish there had been more of these games in the last 15 years and I'm probably just gushing because I played BG I+II so recently. So, my TLDR review is PoE: currently a better game than BG I+II.
  6. Another great show. That intro is legit. As a total newcomer to electronic sports, Aui's replacement was a surprise to me. I'm not much a sports person, but don't basketball players and other athletes get traded around teams more often than just summarily replaced? Are team Esports weird in that there are not really many other teams to trade with?
  7. I'm psyched about this new podcast. 2 weeks ago I can't imagine having said that, but after watching the final day of TI5 with friends and beers I realized that this sort of thing might be in my wheelhouse. Sports have never been my bag and I've never excelled at competitive video games, but there's something about some kids from around the world sitting in glass boxes clicking mouses to "echo slam" some "dire heroes" while a walrus-man rolls into a snowball and "walrus punches" the "roshan" for some "cheese," all while a flying donkey brings them funky items. Also, the casting sounded great and I loved hearing the roar of the crowd even though I didn't understand half of what they were saying even with the "newcomer" commentary. But that's where this podcast fits in. One thing that I did want to bring up is the severe lack of women at the international. I mean, were there any? Is this pretty common in esports? It seems to me that one of the great things about video games is people can compete no matter their gender. If you can click a mouse, you can dodge a "gyrocopter." Anyway, great show. I think the intro with Zacny's NPR voice is pitch perfect.
  8. I think the Breckonest of Breckon is in part 2 due to a break in the stream because Nick and Chris don't know how to use computers, their words not mine. Jump to about 52 min, maybe 51 if you want more buildup. Great lashing out by Breckon and killer rendition of Space Asshole from Remo. But, really, who is this Nick Breckon guy?
  9. Far Cry 2

    I recently re-listened to the original run of idle thumbs and it spurred me to re-visit this game. I really enjoyed it the first time through and never really minded the jamming weapons, malaria pills, and respawning guard posts, but that was on normal. I started again on infamous (no crosshairs, only ironsights) and it is making the hostility of <African Country> really come to the forefront. I rely on my buddy a lot more and I'm really desperate for more diamonds. I haven't been able to fully resist quicksaving on the PC, but I'm trying to make the best of bad situations. The highlights this time through are how awesome the fires can be, but also very dangerous at the same time. My best friend and worst enemy. Also, I love that the wildlife is never hostile, while everything else is. It would seem very fitting if all or even just some of the animals were out to get you, but I think the fact that the animals are just observers or victims accentuates that you are in a man-made hellscape. It also heightens those quieter times when you are just traversing across the wonderous savanna and a gazelle starts running alongside you. I suppose malaria could be the version of nature out to get you, but in a way that is almost more of a human issue because there's not enough malaria pills and you have to trade passports to get medicine. If <African Country> had plenty of medicine and no one wanted to leave, the malaria problem would be solved. My favorite moment so far related to the wildlife may have been a bit of an AI glitch, but it stuck with me. I ran into a patrol jeep. There was a shallow puddle with a gazelle in it between our cars. Naturally, I jumped into the mounted gun and blew the patrolmen away (igndotcom). At the sound of gunfire, the gazelle flipped out and just started running away from me, straight into the other parked jeep. It banged its head and keeled over. Another innocent life lost in my rampage across <African Country>. Anyway, super late to the party, but thought I would just put down a few words about a great game. So what is Clint Hocking doing now? Do any other games even come close to FC2?
  10. Wasteland 2

    I just watched the credits roll on Wasteland 2 and I just wanted to say a bit about it. Give it its due, or something. The latest posts on here seem pretty negative and I totally empathize with that, though I really enjoyed my 80 hours or so with it. I should say I finished the game on the easiest difficulty and I think that really affected my enjoyment. I never had much trouble in combat, but I couldn't resolve all the quests the way I wanted due to lacking skill sets. I should also say that Fallout's one of my favorites and I get pretty psyched about a post-apocalyptic setting. I think they did a good job and made a game that probably would never existed without fans. But, damn, passing skill checks based on random number generators is just insane. I wish some developer would tell me why they did that. Maybe I'm just obsessive, but I save-scummed the shit out of every little locked box. I was relieved when the game told me it was just flat out impossible to crack a safe. Maybe if the game didn't tell me the percentages I would feel better about it, but I would probably still try until I get the nice little "Success" sound. I was really excited about dumping skill points into characters and rounding out my party with specialists that I defined, but to put those points there and then have a 12% chance to succeed, but a 45% chance to fail permanently is just the game laughing at you while you waste your time reloading. With essentially infinite saves, I do not understand this system. I saw someone also mentioned the lackluster characters. I was never too attached to any of the NPCs, but there were a few that showed up more than once that I kept helping out, and Angela Deth really kicks ass at the start, at least in combat. I like that some characters have items they will not let go of, but I get that it's not exactly a deep backstory. However, I spent a long time customizing my 4-person party at the start and I really liked role-playing them. They were each experts at a few things (and playing on easy probably made this stand out more) and they came together to form a rag-tag wrecking crew. It's usually the other way around for me. The hero is kind of a boring character, but the people around him have interesting personalities. One more thing: when you finish the game, your high-level characters are saved as templates, so you can start a new game with your level 30+ characters. I didn't play them, so I don't know if things scale, but maybe that's how you are supposed to beat the high difficulties? That seems rather ridiculous. I'll admit I did play through the game thinking I might try a harder difficulty with different choices later on, but I am kind of doubting that it would hold up, especially given the game length. This seems like a game about your choices. The world is in ruins and you have to make some tough calls and then stick with them, so why invite save-scumming and multiple playthroughs?
  11. Your post about Don't Starve interested me. (Not sure I quoted it correctly.) It's a game that unnerves me without using any scripted moments, as far as I know. I don't know if I would call it a "scary" game, but it still preys upon my anxieties. I think that mostly has to with being thrown into a world and having to solve problems before running into a fail state (death). Meanwhile the sanity meter is telling you what a poor job you're doing. Similarly, I think Amnesia was scary, not so much because the world was gross, but that I didn't know what problems I was going to run into and you were not told how to solve them. I also think Dark Souls can be an uncomfortable game for that reason. Anyway, I think the particular brand of fear these games give to me is more specific to games and their underlying mechanics than a game with scripted jump scares, which is more derived from movies. In other words, games can give you a fear of failure, but it's really hard to fail a movie.
  12. New people: Read this, say hi.

    Hi. Been enjoying the 'cast and now I'm taking it to the next level, or something.