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Chris

Idle Thumbs 65: Dance of the Treasure Goblin

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The conversation around 21:30 about designers needing to remember why something was good for the length of a project & not tinker with (and possibly mess up) their work while it's being implemented: I've noticed this in web development as well.

I tried referring to the effect as 'aesthetic perception attrition' at work, but it didn't fly... I guess people dont like words, or something :P

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That end conversation about socks was priceless and how Sean was arguing with Chris about his hate for toe socks.

Also barefoot is gross, wear socks, any socks or with shoes.

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I am bummed this wasn't The Idle Thumbs Video Game Podcast Episode 1, also that there wasn't a new intro theme. Other than that we are cool.

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just so you know. The MP3's album title meta data still says "Idle Thumbs Postcast" and not "Idle Thumbs"

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I haven't played Diablo 3, and don't intend to. But after the discussion of the music I simply had to sample it. And I fully agree with Remo. All emotion, mystery, whatever is lost in the music. Torchlight 2's music sounds absolutely awesome.

Diablo 1+2's Tristram Music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obsFxm4fj7g

Diablo 3's bastard child:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xm0_9U4CdsA

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just so you know. The MP3's album title meta data still says "Idle Thumbs Postcast" and not "Idle Thumbs"

I'm pretty sure that's actually what the metadata title has been ever since the very first episode. I checked on that because I wanted to make sure we didn't change any of the metadata, so people's audio libraries wouldn't mis-sort anything.

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I'm pretty sure that's actually what the metadata title has been ever since the very first episode. I checked on that because I wanted to make sure we didn't change any of the metadata, so people's audio libraries wouldn't mis-sort anything.

In a shocking twist, the "Idle Thumbs" podcast was "The Idle Thumbs Podcast" ALL ALONG! RUN!

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Check this shit out:

Ughhhh it makes me feel like a musical asshole.

I've had people react oddly at me when I get critical (or have high praise) of music in video games for some reason or another. I never studied music in any formal sense but it's something I'm naturally sensitive to. When you started talking about Diablo 3's music I was pretty much on board 100%. I made fun of people for getting upset at the game's art palette being more robust, and then when more of the music started showing up near the game's launch I started to become one of those people over that.

I'll also say that, for better or worse, it kinda bugs me to read people say they shut off a game's audio tracks or replace it with their own. Background music is part of experiencing a video game and really makes or breaks a lot of moments.

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I wasn't expecting to come across this sorta thing, but adding onto that stuff regarding Blizzard's music capability.

Someone just linked me this:

It's like an orchestration / grand choir mix of Blizzard music I guess, in this case Zerg music from Starcraft. Even if they mix in some techno into things, I think it really goes to speak for Blizzard mistaken medleys and orchestra music for being epic no matter what. Which is false. This style of music production started for them with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and it's really been producing some bland things. I'm not saying that orchestrated music is bad, by the way, but any time you take existing themes that were done in a certain style and sound the way they do because of that style and put it through orchestra-filter, it might not actually be good music as a result.

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I have to say I reacted nearly identically with my experiences with Max Payne 3. Granted, I only got to play the first disc of Max Payne 3 on my 360 but I found myself not having much fun at all. The narrative dissonance was for me a bit too much and there were bizarre things going on like the games insistence on hyper violence that I didn't feel fit with the nature of Max Payne, the very intense self loathing by Max himself, and the presentation in general. I also felt that by adding a cover mechanic and making Max weaker to combat it created a lot of situations where I was just hiding behind cover and slow-mo/bullet timing which kind of defeats the point of Max Payne. Many times doing a shoot dive would result in a quick death.

Also fuck that stadium section.

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I played through all of Max Payne 3 and by the end of it I couldn't remember if I actually had fun at any point or not. Max's self-loathing got a bit over-bearing for a while there as well. I've had serious depression for the past 8 years and by the time I was halfway through the game I found that Max was just making me even more depressed. If I hadn't taken a break for a week I'm not sure I could have finished that game.

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I did a bit of a double-take with Sean's comments about gaming as a service, particularly as I enjoy the idea of having the game expand while I'm playing it rather than going through the cycle of buy-play-realise I'm done-{hope for sequel|move on with my life}.

But it sounded like the problem is less with the concept of gaming as a service but the execution: namely, that these bits of game are just kind of plopped in there, with big markers where characters talk directly to the player's wallet, Dragon Age-style, and they don't really feel like a complete experience that you feel good about having just played.

I'm planning to poke Chris into elaborating more on his 'oh god, fuck achievements' stance because maybe that's a thing that's been run into the ground while I wasn't looking. I've had so many nice achievement-prompted experiences that I'm a little surprised.

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I'm planning to poke Chris into elaborating more on his 'oh god, fuck achievements' stance because maybe that's a thing that's been run into the ground while I wasn't looking. I've had so many nice achievement-prompted experiences that I'm a little surprised.

But wouldn't those experiences have been better prompted by something in the game world, or that fit in with the narrative, rather than some out of game check list or generic pop-up window?

Achievements are problematic for immersion reasons. Of course whether you care about immersion, or whether they actually affect your immersion, is very much a personal thing.

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I did a bit of a double-take with Sean's comments about gaming as a service, particularly as I enjoy the idea of having the game expand while I'm playing it rather than going through the cycle of buy-play-realise I'm done-{hope for sequel|move on with my life}.

But it sounded like the problem is less with the concept of gaming as a service but the execution: namely, that these bits of game are just kind of plopped in there, with big markers where characters talk directly to the player's wallet, Dragon Age-style, and they don't really feel like a complete experience that you feel good about having just played.

I'm planning to poke Chris into elaborating more on his 'oh god, fuck achievements' stance because maybe that's a thing that's been run into the ground while I wasn't looking. I've had so many nice achievement-prompted experiences that I'm a little surprised.

I'll address the other comment about my comments on the cast being hypocritical given my involvement with The Walking Dead as well.

What I don't like is single-player narrative experience as platform when executed in a way that undercuts why I picked up the game to begin with (which 99 times out of 100 is "I want to go to a cool place and feel like a person there). Arkham City is the worst example, where trophies and doodads are constantly reminding me that I didn't buy the Catwoman pack. I don't feel like Batman when I see them, I feel like a chump with a wallet.

That being said, what GTA did with the DLC chapters and Bioshock did with Minerva's Den (SCOOOOO) was fantastic -- it felt more like content serials: old movies, comics, serial novels, etc.

I could imagine, like I said on the cast, a GTA where they just give you New York for free and you buy 10 dollar 2-4hr. episodes. Rad.

Concerning The Walking Dead: we are telling a serial and the episodes are 5 dollars. There is no platform you download that is upselling you during the game and content is not walled off during the play experience for non-paying players (because non paying players don't exist.

I was simply pointing out that I don't like where games COULD be heading: which is single player experiences aping the free-to-play mechanics of a multiplayer game. That would be shitty and I think most people agree with that.

RE: This stuff in multiplayer games that are less about world discovery? Who gives a shit -- I love DOTA and I don't mind it's F2P store model one bit.

Also I think achievements are stupid.

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So if you dislike all these aspects of games, don't really like the future it seems to be striving towards, why do you still like and play games?

(Yeah, it's totally the question I sent in that you almost answered. I probably asked it less douchily in the email too, and so I apologise here)

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I've always loved the idea of creating a world and then telling a bunch of different stories in that world. Sometimes a game doesn't need a sequel (or a prequel, even), but the world is so goddamn interesting that I still want an excuse to keep exploring it. Not every story told in the same world needs to be related. I wish more game developers would realize that.

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So if you dislike all these aspects of games, don't really like the future it seems to be striving towards, why do you still like and play games?

(Yeah, it's totally the question I sent in that you almost answered. I probably asked it less douchily in the email too, and so I apologise here)

We're answering your question on the next cast (spoiler) -- but I will say here, which I didn't say on mic -- that criticizing the shit out of something and pushing it to be better probably means you like and care about a thing.

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