Ninja Dodo

Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Everything posted by Ninja Dodo

  1. Hm. Regarding the letter about Kingsman, I think I made similar points plus some other ones in the Engine That Could thread. Do you guys not read the forums anymore? Anyway, I think you're reading statements into the film that I do not think it is making and also it seems a lot more clever (and deliberate) than you are giving it credit for. Film Critic Hulk makes a pretty good argument.
  2. Idle Weekend August 11, 2017: The Mooch

    Speaking of No Man's Sky, it's pretty commendable how Hello Games have kept updating the game even through all the backlash. Seems like they've added a lot of the features people were originally expecting now. About Mass Effect 3, mileage may vary, but Danielle (and anyone else who played ME3 vanilla): it might be worth revisiting the game with some of the DLC. I first played 3 long after release with both the From Ashes and Leviathan DLC (plus extended ending) and loved it. It even ended up being my favourite of the trilogy. For me, while it undeniably has low points and missed opportunities, it also had the highest highs of the series. Those DLCs definitely add *a lot* though. I think if I had played the game without those two I would be more down on it like the rest of the internet. They're basically essential. From Ashes adds a character that should really never have been cut from the main game (Javik) and Leviathan fills out the backstory in a way that lends a lot more weight and clarity to the finale. On my second playthrough I added the Citadel DLC and man that is just the *perfect epilogue* to end the series on. Seriously, if you play nothing else Mass Effect, at least play Citadel. It's great. And if you feel like giving ME3 another chance, try it with the other DLC. (probably skip Omega though... it's enjoyable but unnecessary)
  3. I think you're reading into Kingsman things that are not there. They're not making a political point about Obama. The villain has roped most, if not all, world leaders into his crazy plan. It would be weird not to include the then US president. Honestly I think it would be more overtly political if they made a thing out him being one of the few to resist (and I like Obama). Neither is the fact that the villain cares about climate really a comment on climate politics. How often do villains have some grain of truth or sense in their grand evil plans to make them a more interesting antagonist? He is just a crazy evil dude who happens to care about the climate - I think climate change is one of the foremost challenges of our time and I had no problem with this plot point - I get that we live in frought poltical times, Americans especially, but you should be careful not to immediately project nefarious intent just because someone whose opinions partially overlap with yours is framed negatively in a fictional context. Also that whole thing about the film being about fear of the young ... I did not get any of that from it at all. If it's political about anything it's political about class. You guys should read Film Critic Hulk's essay on this movie. I seem to remember he had an interesting take.
  4. Idle Weekend May 27, 2017: Renaissance Morgan

    Was just reminded that Consortium is another example of lowish budget immersive sim. I haven't played the first one yet, but I backed the second game on fig as it basically looked like a really cool indie Deus Ex:
  5. Idle Weekend May 27, 2017: Renaissance Morgan

    . Or Slayer Shock: I would submit that skimping on animation is not the best idea because (when used properly) it is essential to reading characters' behaviour. Losing that layer of communication means losing a part of the simulation. Also you could argue that atmosphere is a big part of what makes immersive sims, so unfortunately as Slayer Shock seems to demonstrate, even if you have great mechanics you lose a lot of the character. I feel bad picking on this one game... it's just I really want to like it conceptually but I cannot get over the art direction, or lack thereof. That said, Gone Home and Firewatch demonstrate that it is possible to achieve great atmosphere on a small budget if you choose your constraints carefully (like not having NPCs).
  6. Totally agree about Brutal Legend. Such a charming game. It's not without flaws, the open world mini side missions are a bit repetitive and you do sorta feel the absence of the once larger scope (which apparently had campaigns for the other factions) ending rather abruptly, but it's a lot of fun and if you like Metal at all it's a real treat of sight and sound. It's fun to just drive around and hop out to collect more music and car upgrades, melting faces with guitar solos or taming and riding assorted beasties. The strategy has a bit of an odd learning curve. I recall the first major stage battle against Drowning Doom being more of a learning wall (tutorials could have been expanded some) but after looking up some strategies online I found the RTS side to be highly enjoyable as well. I think the game was mainly hurt by EA's decision to downplay the strategy in the marketing in favour of portraying it more like an action game, so people went into it with the wrong expectations. Crying shame, cause it's a great game. About the charm of smaller scope versus big open worlds: I agree there's something about more compact spaces that allows for so much more detail and personality. Prague in Deus Ex Mankind Divided was a good recent example. Less recently Gothic 1 & 2 or Vampire Bloodlines. Also many argue Arkham Asylum, with its tight focus and contained setting was the better Batman game... All great smallish worlds that went for depth over scale. Game Maker's Toolkit had a good video on the topic:
  7. Still listening to the rest of the cast but the comment about making Beauty & the Beast less about Stockholm Syndrome in the live-action version reminded me of this video:
  8. Polygon manufactured a controversy out of some devs rolling their eyes on twitter at what they perceived to be (rightly or wrongly) a clickbait headline making a huge deal out of a common technique. At no point was anyone "mocking" the public for not knowing some technical process. Also, Polygon, real nice job calling out these developers by name and then only redacting their names *after* people are already attacking them for this perceived slight. Devs really need more angry gamers shouting at them for no reason. Yes, (clearly) the development process is a mystery to most people, and yes, developers should encourage curiosity about how games are made and try to explain where possible, but don't put words in people's mouths.
  9. That feeling you describe though, that's how I feel about Mirror's Edge, especially the sequel. Posted this on FB the other day:
  10. Man I don't know what you're talking about with Snake Pass. The execution is *perfect*. It's challenging, but in a good, interesting way. I mean, this is like complaining Dark Souls is not quite there because you die a lot. Snake Pass is the most original and inventive creature-based sim/platformer I've played and frankly more games should aspire to this kind of creativity. Highly recommended.
  11. Regarding The Last Guardian, this is a good video: NOTE: contains some mid-game mechanical/story spoilers, also for Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us.
  12. Playing a bit more... Alright, the controls could be improved by adding a slower walking state between sneaking and running, I'll give you that. [edit: also aiming when jumping towards chains could be better - missed a couple of jumps - so OK there are some problems, but I stand by my original point that the style of the movement is not one of them.]
  13. Agreed on the camera: that objectively does not work a lot of the time. This could have been fixed with more intelligent nudging out of the way, or switching to backup cameras with a better overview... Maybe it was a stylistic choice to not have multiple angles but in that case the dynamic camera placement defintely needed more work. I personally haven't run into "that was not what I meant to do" issues with the controls except while climbing Trico, like ending up behind his legs or grabbing onto his fur when you're trying to jump off and such. That does feel like something that could have worked better. But basically I really disagree with the assertion that there is anything wrong with the overall feel of the movement of the boy character on his own. As to the climbing, there are definitely things in there that even a skilled human adult could not do in real life in terms of stamina, falls that would kill you or arm strength (eg falling several stories and grabbing a ledge) but no more than any other game. Some handwaving is required to not render these things unplayable. I mean realistically you would be crushed the first time Trico kicks you or accidentally lands where you happen to be standing. But that would not be very fun or interesting. So I'm not sure the "boy should be less clumsy because he is adept at climbing" argument holds up.
  14. I'm in the middle of Last Guardian at the moment and gotta say I really disagree with Danielle on the controls. I think the looseness of the movement is entirely appropriate to the character you're playing. Sometimes it feels like there is this consensus in design that there is only one single correct way for game controls to feel and any imprecision is by definition 'bad', but having the boy move like every other action-adventure ninja/assassin/soldier would not achieve the clearly intended effect and would feel wrong in the context... I'm not really seeing that distinction between walking and climbing that you describe either, one being more skilled than the other. I don't know about you but I remember being pretty good at climbing as a kid [edit: okay maybe not THAT good, but I think video games generally allow for a little more stamina and grip than is strictly speaking realistic for the purposes of gameplay], and there's an endearing awkwardness to how the boy moves around that (in my opinion) fits perfectly. The only area where it feels like they could help you along a bit more is when climbing on Trico and sometimes getting lost behind his legs or tail. And yes, the camera could use some work (perhaps with occasional switches to hand-placed angles), but these are minor flaws that pale in comparison to what this game achieves and I think a lot of people are too busy fussing over camera and controls to notice (though you did touch on this with the bit about "good frustrations"): Trico is a masterpiece of AI, animation and design. The Last Guardian succeeds where Black & White did not because the behaviour of Trico is life-like and, crucially, readable in a way that has just not been done before. THIS is the new bar for interactive creatures that others are going to have to try to reach now. I'm looking forward to playing the rest of it and can't wait to see what Ueda and his team do next and what the rest of the industry do in response...
  15. Regarding games about being other life-forms: There's Mushroom 11 where you play a sentient fungus in a post-apocalyptic world. Action puzzle game. It's pretty amazing. Also there's this game Feral that appeared on itchio recently. First-person big cat simulation. They have a demo. Seems pretty cool... though probably use a gamepad because PC controls are en français (AZERTY). ... and you might like this game I made: Guppy, an attempt to interactively capture the movement of fish in 2D watercolours.
  16. It's not for everyone, obviously, but I find it difficult to imagine someone with an appreciation for history, especially Greek history, could not find something to enjoy there. And if you don't like crowds you should probably try the off season (early spring or fall). I went Oct/Nov and while the weather varied a bit, it was relatively quiet (great for taking pictures) and just in time for things to mostly still be open.
  17. Just got to the rest of the cast and I'm finding it hard to relate to Rob's stance that there's no point visiting historic sites because those times are gone. Have you ever been to Europe, I wonder? Because I think you vastly overestimate the degree to which, as you put it: "those worlds no longer exist"... Walk the streets in pretty much any European city worth its salt and you can practically taste the history. As someone who also has an interest in classical history and recently visited Greece I have to say you are missing out. From the art, to the architecture, the landscapes and even what lives on of the old culture and language in modern descendants, these places are still very much around.
  18. As someone who is fully hyped for Last Guardian, here is why, if they succeed at all at what they are trying to do, it is still very much relevant: Shadow of the Colossus, eleven years later, remains unsurpassed as an achievement in dynamically interacting with living breathing creatures. No one (in my opinion) has done intricate physical character interaction to the level of Shadow of the Colossus in a game before or since. Not linear Quick Time Events, but actual dynamic interaction with AI characters. There have been advances in procedural animation to be sure (Ubisoft, Naughty Dog and Rockstar have been doing interesting work) but it's mostly used to make slightly better ragdolls or nicer transitions and rarely actually used in a way that significantly alters gameplay. Last Guardian promises to be a game about the friendship between a boy and his giant adorable griffin-cat, not with dialogue trees or "press X to have emotional moment", but with subtle and intricate direct interaction between believable characters. This could be something truly special... important even. Given their previous work, if anyone can pull this off it's Fumito Ueda and his team. Asking if maybe the world has moved on from games like this is rather like suggesting people have moved on from Ghibli films if Hayao Miyazaki came out of retirement...
  19. 90% of the things people claim are not in the game are totally in there if you play more than five minutes. The thing with procedural generation that people don't understand and perhaps Hello Games failed to adequately explain is if you have 18 quintillion planets, not every planet is going to be interesting. If you've got anything like a broad range of generation possibilities 50% is going to be kind of generic, 10% kinda broken, 30% pretty interesting and 10% will be AMAZING (roughly speaking). I've seen some pretty great planets with some really interesting creatures and frankly stunning landscapes but I've also seen some seriously wonky abominations and some barren empty wastelands. You can't expect every planet to be like that E3 trailer. I'm not sure what happened with the concept of seeing other players, whether it was cut for any number of reasons, or perhaps still in there but just not working properly and soon to be patched, but as the Mode 7 video pointed out Hello Games have on multiple occasions explained that it was always intended to be a solitary exploration game, not an MMO. If you ask me, all game previews should just come with the following disclaimer: "This game is in development and all features are subject to change. Elements may be changed or removed over the course of development for any reason including but not limited to design changes, technical issues, time, budget and development priorities." Problem solved.
  20. A developer's perspective on No Man Sky's communication problems, from Mode 7 (of Frozen Synapse):
  21. Just to be entirely clear: by "the conversation" I mean the larger conversation in the games community on social media, reddit, etc... not the one on the cast, which was rather more thoughtful as per usual. Though I agree with Twig and Weary that you guys were not being entirely fair to developers and press in general and Hello Games specifically in this case for reasons cited above.
  22. Sorry but when the conversation is basically "all game developers are liars and scam-artists trying to con brave consumers out of their precious dollars with their evil trailers and promises" or "I could totally code multiplayer for this game in like 3 weeks, lazy devs" those are not valid concerns worth addressing. I think the relationship between a certain small but loud subset of gamers and game developers turned sour around Mass Effect 3 (afaik the first instance of a game not meeting expectations resulting in 'fans' attacking developers, calling them liars, etc) and hasn't improved since, with the absolute lowest point of course being everything in 2014. When certain groups become actively hostile to the developers who work their asses off trying to create something cool at some point you stop giving the angry mob the benefit of the doubt, and just go: well I guess I'm not making games for those people. You can't fault developers for, as you put it, "circling the wagons" when everything they say and do is interpreted in the worst possible way and people who don't know the first thing about game development talk nonsense about how easy it would be to do X or Y and how lazy and terrible and clearly malicious the developers are for not doing all those things, or for *gasp* occasionally changing their minds or altering design decisions over the course of development in order to ship a working game in time for the holidays. Latest baffling development: according to reddit some are now getting refunds for No Man's Sky after as much as 72 hours of playtime (!) and painting that as a totally reasonable thing to do. Personally if someone is going to play my game without paying for it I would prefer they just pirate it instead of pretending to be a customer, then getting a refund once they're done with.
  23. Great discussion on worlds versus games. I do think you guys were being a little unfair to Mass Effect 3 though. While you can debate the merits of the game as a whole (personally, love it), it certainly doesn't lack heart in its highpoints as it closes out some of the major storylines of the series: the Genophage and the Krogans, the war between the Geth and the Quarians, not to mention the wonderful epilogue that is Citadel... Some other worlds I love visiting: the islands of 1 & 2, 's Hyllis, 's alien deserts and marshes, Santa Monica and Downtown LA in Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines (also a good one for what Rob was talking about with seeing other sides of society), Brutal Legend's , Longest Journey/Dreamfall's , Okami's , the of Red Dead Redemption, Gothic 1's prison colony, the of Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag... also I'm kinda surprised you guys didn't mention The Witcher 3 this one time. Also the historical accuracy & strategy discussion continues to be really interesting. [edit: added some links for extra nostalgia]
  24. Designer Notes 19: Louis Castle

    Got around to listening through the whole thing now (no audio hitches this time!). That was great. Really interesting overview of the history of Westwood and their games and also interesting to learn about how Castle's background and interests informed how he ran the studio. Having been indirectly involved in LMNO at one point it was also nice to finally hear a more concrete reason for why that project was canned. Could have been really interesting.
  25. Designer Notes 19: Louis Castle

    The audio cuts out a couple of times around 7:15 and 8:00. Maybe in other places as well but that's as far as I've listened so far.