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Diecast #35: Dump on Indies Week

By Shamus
on Wednesday Nov 6, 2013
Filed under:


Often people tone down their criticism when talking about indie games. I know I do. It’s easy to dump on a huge multi-million dollar project with hundreds of contributors. But when you’re talking about something made by half a dozen people, it all becomes kind of personal and I’m shy of eviscerating something on that level.

But sometimes you have to give a game the thrashing it deserves. This week is a reckoning for a handful of misbegotten indies.

Direct download (MP3)
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.

Hosts: Rutskarn, Josh, Mumbles, Chris, and Shamus.

Show notes:

1:30 Josh played Home.

In the process of discussing the game and the horror genre in general, we talk about 7th Guest and the recent 7th Guest 3 Kickstarter.

20:00 Chris is playing Batman: Arkham Origins and Battlefield 4.

We also spend some time talking about good ol’ Team Fortress 2 and how the game has changed.

35:00 Shamus has been playing indie games. The Void, Spelunky, and Eldrich.

Of these three games: He praises one, complains about a second, and hates on the third. But not in that order.

49:00 Mumbles has been playing Batman: Arkham Origins.

Here is an in-depth discussion about the new Batman game from Mumbles.

1:00:00 Rutkarn has played The Wolf Among Us and Typing of the Dead: Overkill.

Here is the story about how Typing of the Dead was made (sort of) in six weeks, salvaged by a team that believed in it.

1:16:00 Mailbag!

Comments (110)

  1. Benias says:

    Your website crashes firefox.

  2. kdansky says:

    As someone who spent a few hundred hours with the original Spelunky, and a few dozen with the HD remake, I don’t think the controls are that bad. Ladders are a bit sub-optimal, and the climbing gloves are very sticky. But else, it’s quite okay.

    The actual issues with Spelunky are how the best way to get a high-score are the most boring, namely ghosting, that murdering shopkeepers is an absolute must.

    Keyboard: I don’t understand why people say that you can’t play Super Meat Boy or Spelunky with a keyboard. My performance in those two games sky-rocketed when I stopped playing it with an analog stick (and the Dpad on a 360 pad is unusable to begin with) and switched to a proper mechanical keyboard. Add the fact that you can use one finger per action instead of doing everything with the right thumb, and it’s clearly superior. I also use my fight stick if I can get it to work, for example for Rogue Legacy.

    • Retsam says:

      Re: keyboards, I’m the same way. I don’t know if I’d go as far to say that I’m -better- with a keyboard, but I’m certainly not worse; I think it’s probably about equal. Unless the keyboard interface is terribly designed, (and it’s not in either the case of Spelunky or SMB) the keyboard very rarely gets in my way (of finding hilarious ways to die).

      But I guess I grew up playing keyboard games, so it’s not hugely surprising. It’s just interesting that the general opinion seems to be so vehemently “Keyboard = Die”.

    • ET says:

      I too, find that control pads are ill-suited to platformers in this day and age.
      The buttons’ squishiness/feel/everything seems to be tailored so specifically to 3D shooty games, that trying to play anything else with them leaves you with imprecise controls.
      And precise controls are exactly what you need with platformers.

      • Axe Armor says:

        I think 2D games in general suffer under the tyranny of thumbsticks – fighting games, for example.

        • kdansky says:

          I bought a MadCatz TE and shipped it to Europe (goddamn expensive), because I just can’t play any fighting games with the PS3/XBox360 controllers. Luckily, that thing works on some PC USB ports too (the USB 1.0 and 3.0 ports, but not the 2.0), and now I have a decent stick for the PC.

          It baffles me that people want to use a pad with ANALOG controls, when the games require BINARY/DIGITAL input. And don’t get me started on the triggers that are not buttons, but also analog levers. Those are just ridiculous.

  3. Humanoid says:

    To make up for the absence of Bad SimCity News on the Diecast, I will point out that Australian consumer organisation Choice – the sort-of equivalent of The Consumerist – has announced the winners of the annual Shonky awards for bad products. We get all the bad things about SimCity that Americans get, then get to pay $2.48/min for EA technical support on top of that. Congratulations EA.

  4. anaphysik says:

    Aww, Home turned out to be rubbish? (Haven’t listened yet; just going by show notes.) That’s unfortunate :<. I swear, I was going to try it out /eventually/, Mr. Sitting-in-my-Steam-Library.

    (I've also been meaning to boot up the full version of Lone Survivor sometime. #HowDoIPlayedGames?)

  5. Bentusi16 says:

    7th guest was great. I played it with my dad when I was the littlest of children.

    However, a often overlooked one is Shivers.


    Shivers was great. It was atmospheric and could be very trippy, and the puzzles were quite clever, better then 7th guest I think. The sequel was also very interesting, and I enjoyed it.

    It’s impossible to find nowadays I think. Not even Good old Games has it.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    About being harsh on indies:
    I usually give them slack for graphics,sound,story and length.But gameplay is not something that you can simply drop more resources at and improve it,so no slack should be given in that department.

    • Zeta Kai says:

      See, for me, the story shouldn’t ever get a pass from any developer. If you have something to say with your game/movie/book/comic/blog/whatever, then you should say it well, & your budget shouldn’t get in the way, whether you have $100million or $0. Even if your only story is just “stomping mushrooms is fun” or “shooting zombies in the face is sweet” or “jumping over saw-blades to land on platforms is cool”, you should be able to convey that to the player well regardless of the amount of money you pumped into your production cycle.

      The problem with the big budget games is that they have so many people sitting around in so many meetings giving so many opinions that whatever message that could have been conveyed is watered down to “Nazis are bad” or “Humans are the real monsters” or “Being good at this game makes you a cool person”. Which is a shame because those are the games that everyone is going to play, so they have this wide audience eagerly listening to the buzz of a microphone with nobody behind it saying anything that is worth hearing.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I kind of agree with you.If there is a story,it should be good.But I wont criticize a game for not having a story if it doesnt need one.

        • MrGuy says:

          I think there is a difference between a story and a motivation.

          It would be nice if the makers of a game have some clear idea on what’s happening and why it’s happening, and that there’s a reason the characters are doing what they’re doing and not something else. Things should fit together around some kind of goal that makes sense in context.

          Angry Birds is a good example here – the pigs stole the birds’ eggs. Birds smash pigs to get them back. That’s it. There’s no character arc or development. No plot. No “story.” But there’s a reason they’re doing what they do.

          If there’s no reason the red guy needs to get into the green castle, and there’s nothing really to accomplish once I get there, then why am I bothering?

          But if you’re going to go beyond a simple motivation and try to tell a deeper story, then you’re taking on some responsibilities. The story has to make sense. The character actions need to make sense in context of the story. The goal of the story and the goals of the characters need to align. Do this wrong and you get Fable II.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ugh…I hate the “Its artsy” defense.Art can be bad as well.

    • Torsten says:

      Or good, at least on other mediums. Many artsy films are actually good movies. Or maybe those movies are considered great works of art because they are first and foremost good movies.

      • ET says:

        I’m pretty sure all great works of art that still hold up after a long time, all were good films/books/whatever first, and also ‘artistic’.
        The ones that are ‘artistic’ before being a good work, they might actually have some decent points to make, but in my experience, they’re usually just petty, trite observations, and aren’t called ‘art’ after about a decade. :)

    • broken says:

      I haven’t seen anyone use that defense. Kindly point me to the relevant post.

    • Zukhramm says:

      And I hate the “I didn’t like it, and it was artsy so therefore people who liked it are only saying they liked it because they want to pretend to like something that seems like art”.

  8. Mobius says:

    Loooong time reader, first time poster. Apparently I need to be that weird guy who comes out saying he liked The Void.

    It is very much worth noting that the developers are Russian, as was the game originally. The dialog probably sounds a bit weird because it was translated from Russian to German, and then from German to English. No idea why they did that, but if it sounds obtuse there’s your reason. Nudity also isn’t really as big a deal over there, and there’s exactly one Sister intended to be ‘sexy’ at all. I kind of have to roll my eyes at the dongs complaint.

    I don’t really follow the argument about the *core* mechanics themselves being opaque, as there is a lot of hand-holding that spells them all out. The game is stupid difficult mostly because the margins it allows for are razor thin, you can’t afford much wasted color at all. While this is thematic for the game, it is kind of bullshit, because you can easily hose yourself and not really realize it until much later. It doesn’t really sound like you played it long enough to confront this problem, though?

    I can understand being frustrated by interface issues, though I can’t really speak to them as I don’t recall having them myself. Its worth noting that IIRC, you want to rely on manual saves, but you can only do so when in the larger void, not while you’re on the islands within.

    While the game seems ‘arty’, but I don’t think it is trying to “say” anything, so much as just be a weird atmospheric fantasy adventure (I’ve heard it best described as Silent Hill meets Myst). I think it certainly succeeded at that goal, and I adored exploring and experiencing the result, even though I agree as a game in the end it is way, way too damned hard.

    • Grampy_Bone says:

      I thought The Void was really interesting, it had such a weird aesthetic and atmosphere, the entire design felt so unique. Too bad its practically unplayable though. Kudos to you if you could make it through it, it’s one of the toughest games ever made I’d say. I did watch a full video Let’s Play which was much more fun than actually playing the game.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      I think the nudity may be a cultural thing, not that sensitive to it as well, though I do notice it as something unusual when it comes up in works. The Void was one of those games that I kinda wished I had more drive to explore, it visited my hard drive briefly but the scarcity of resources, the odd control system and a certain lack of direction in some parts kinda put me off. I did read up a bit on how it develops further and it does sound interesting in certain aspects.

      My unwillingness to continue may not be the game’s fault though, I think the combination of “you can make decisions that will screw you down the line” with “time limit” is really not suited to my approach to gaming (though strangely enough I am into roguelikes, perhaps because in those I don’t feel the frustration of being prevented from exploring the storyline by failing?).

      • Nordicus says:

        Edit: wanted to reply to Mobius, but eeh, fudge it

        I’ll also say that I really, really liked The Void. Heck, I could honestly say that I *loved* it.

        The game had this oppressive, depressing and mysterious atmosphere that I hadn’t felt since Morrowind or S.t.a.l.k.e.r. and you’re supposed to explore every bizarre nook and cranny of this limbo-esque world. Awesome

        The designs of the Brothers are very freaky yet some of them are supposed to be neutral or even friendly, and the gameplay is such an insane genre bender where “surreal fantasy farming sim” is basically the closest you can get to a description in 4 words.

        The one negative comment I have about this game is that by the time you actually learn the game’s (deliberately) obtuse mechanics, it’s too late. You don’t have enough nerva and color to survive the boss battle that’s just around the corner and you have to start the game from the beginning with the hope that this time around you gather color more efficiently this time around.

        Also, yeah, Shamus and Rutskarn, there is a manual save system in this game. There would in fact HAVE to be, because the resource management aspect of the game is very unforgiving and I would not personally replay it without having minimum of 5 different saves in active use

  9. Torsten says:

    The talk about Team Fortress 2 reminded me that the old Spoiler Warning special episode of TF2 still does not appear to be available. Now it could probably work as a glimpse to the past, not only on old Spoiler Warning but the game itself too.

  10. Retsam says:

    Things I appreciate about Spelunky: (disclaimer, I’ve only played the original free version, not the new one)

    – Interesting choices: I sometimes say Spelunky has one of the best moral choice systems I’ve seen, and I’m only partially joking when I say that. The ability to rob shops is really well done because it trades short term expediency for long repercussions, and in short, I think that’s what most moral choices in video games should come down to. (Side note: if you’re running a shop in Spelunky, I believe selling sticky powder should legally be classified as “suicide”)

    – Forces careful play. Spelunky isn’t unfair, it just punishes carelessness with ruthless efficiency. As someone who generally plays these sorts of games very -not- carefully, it’s an interesting game for me because it rather forces me to adjust my play style and proceed with caution. Also it means I’m somewhat terrible at the game, so that’s sort of fun.

  11. Disc says:

    It’s easy to give more value to a work when you know it’s done by the underdogs. At the end of the day, most of them still want to make money with what they do, and that’s why I believe they shouldn’t really be held to any different standards than anyone else. If I paid for it, then I also reserve the right to hold it to the same standards as the rest of the competition.

    It doesn’t mean you can’t still sympathize with the struggles of the underdog, but it doesn’t do any good if you’re not willing to be realistic about what they do.

    • Astor says:

      I’d say that actually most of the time the underdogs are trying to make money so they can create more games (and have a living of course), while “the rest of the competition” have higher chances of just being regurgitating the same old crap with the objective of making money. The ones have money as a means, the others money as an end.

      • Disc says:

        Come back when you can point where I was judging people for their intentions. Or somehow taking sides for that matter, if that’s what you’re implying.

        It makes no difference if they want to spend it to make more games or money or to get hookers and blow. They’re still expecting me to pay for what they’ve produced. If you want to favor one over the other for some sentimental reason or moral obligation, then freaking do that, that’s fine. I’m guilty enough of it myself, but generally I’d rather treat everyone equally and not let my biases get in the way, if I can.

        • Astor says:

          Uh, okay. I was presenting a different viewpoint from yours, so that, you know, we may have an exchange of ideas? You say we must be realistic about what they do, and there comes my point: some do it for the money, others not, I’m just trying to be realistic about what they do.

          • Disc says:

            >some do it for the money, others not

            It’s a bit of a foregone conclusion if you ask me, so sorry if I didn’t get your point immediately. I guess I should have phrased the last sentence to “about their projects” instead of “about what they do.” to avoid the confusion.

            Fuck this goddamn language and my inability to express it properly.

  12. Zukhramm says:

    On the “it’s the original” and bringing back something old. There’s a difference between bringing something old back because “that was what the original was like”, which is what Shamus was talking about, and bringing something back because you like it, which is what Mumbles was talking about.

    • Slightly surprised there isn’t a long chain of posts about Overkill already.

      While I’m not trying to argue a universal point and my memory of Overkill is from when the Wii version came out (grabbed Typing but not had time to play it yet past the opening 20 minutes), I will defend the grindhouse grab-bag from the narrative of it being an easy and lazy thing to import the style in, negative aspects and all.

      That Overkill somewhat falls flat and has a mixed reception (somewhat importantly from people who acknowledge the problematic elements and how it imports them along with the budget stylings) is an indication this was not an easy path. The safe move would be to just paint over the outdated notions and play it as a ‘modern grindhouse-inspired’ piece. While I’m not going to say Overkill totally won me over a few years back with a deft touch for ramping the, now-absurdly outdated, notions up to 11 from an era we hopefully all consider happily distant; that is what I think was the intent. While the original movies may have played everything straight for titillation and so on, unaware of how modern society would come to catalogue even the areas they didn’t focus on exploiting directly as problematic, and the wave that cuts those movies down can subvert their message and content, the long dead resurrection seems to be in a slightly easier space to present the style of content and just leave it there. “Look at this, isn’t it stupid; this used to work, unironically”.

      That’s the big line. That’s where my defence of this can easily be cut down. “There is no such thing as ironic appreciation; you’re enjoying the problematic elements, not seeing their presentation as, in itself, a statement of the ridiculousness of it viewed with the modern lens. We’re not far enough down the path to correcting the societal issues reflected in the content to be able to stand around laughing at them just because the previous version of something that is still very much an issue is on display and is clearly antiquated.” And that’s a good case. I’d say drawing that line would probably require an essay to even try to tease out and is very much a case by case call. On one side you’ll point to the lack of subversion or any acknowledgement of the problematic elements imported, adding in the modern problematic elements imported by the writers from today bringing their baggage to the table; on the other side you’ll note any subversion or indications that something was amped up so far beyond modern tastes, beyond even a representation of how it was in the source material, to be clear indication of understanding on the part of the writing, that they are there with you to laugh at the absurdity and maybe join in the discussion of where these problematic elements have now mutated to in modern society after consuming the content (maybe along with a movie from the era).

      I also think there could be a touch of translation friction. Both the Typing conversion (with what very limited addition the typing text was) and the original Overkill was done in the UK (it was Kuju’s new London studio that built it, outsiders to the culture they were imitating in the same way GTA may be increasingly crafted by adopted Americans but it’s built by the Scottish and crafted by those formerly tied closely to a UK upbringing). England has a strong tradition of playing it dead straight. Decades of current affairs satire with none of the winks of a Colbert that has never really gone out of style. “Fox News is satire, most of the presenters just don’t know it” is not an uncommon comment over here. I think Chris didn’t like Dredd in part because it doesn’t comment on the brutality and moral decay of the premise, while I am most of my friends read that as the message of the movie (but that could also be because we have absorbed that thrust of the canon from a lifetime of exposure to it seeping into popular culture over here). Overkill possibly suffers from both difficulty from the creators in importing the American grindhouse style to emulate as commentary that makes it less than it might have been and that increased acceptance of a really dry delivery as a prevailing method of presenting something for derision when exported back out to other places.

      And of course I’ve just written this providing scant evidence to back anything up, pointing to the lack of evidence as a style of commentary in itself. It’s clearly easy to fall on the other side of that argument, but that’s what I think was the intent and a possible reading. And I don’t think Overkill pulled it off really well, or avoiding problematic elements it didn’t intent to import to show how outdated they are with the modern lens. And even if you do think it did a good job of that, it’s easy to see how some of those elements maybe haven’t got enough clear space / improvement in where we are today to look back on an laugh. There are lots of reasons to think Overkill fails or is too problematic to sit back and enjoy. But I don’t think it was because the original writers were just lazily importing a scattering of grindhouse elements for a quick tonal match for the low budget earlier HotD inspirations and didn’t think about what they were importing or how they were to present an exaggerated version of those old movies. The matching was the reason for trying it, but I don’t take Overkill to show they were lazy doing it or that is was an easy job.

  13. Nano Proksee says:

    Very good Joker laugh at 52:00 … was that on purpose?

  14. Weimer says:

    The Void is one those games I praise from afar.. I’ve heard too much of it’s gameplay to actually try to play it, but I admire it’s uniqueness.

    If you, a lost spirit wandering the internet wishes to see more of the madness of The Void, there is a good let’s play of it here.

  15. Jarenth says:

    The only thing I’m really upset about here is not being invited. Talking about indie games is kind of my schtick, here.

    All I remember about The Void is that I played it for an hour, and then I stopped playing it. I do kinda want to try penetrating it at some point, but… but, not any time soon.

    Oh! I also remember the oddly out-of-place half-naked women.

    EDIT: Also, I play Spelunky because I have to beat Spelunky. Also, for the daily leaderboards. Also, I have to beat Spelunky.

    • ET says:

      You can never beat Spelunky; There’s too many things!
      Especially if you’re trying to get all the secret stuff and/or are a reckless player like me… ^^;

    • Paul Spooner says:

      I played Spelunky quite a bit for a few days. Got to the end boss several times before realizing what a time-sink it was. At first it was fun learning new skills and exploring new levels and taking on new challenges. And I appreciate the “checkpoint every four levels” thing, so that you don’t have to grind through the first levels… but then I hit the knee of the skill curve and decided that honing my body and mind into a Spelunky-playing-machine was not what I wanted to do with my life. Fun challenge! But at the end of the day it’s a platformer with some gimmicks.

  16. Hitchmeister says:

    On the “No one complains that Batman isn’t campy like he used to be,” point, there’s a fairly new comic series (4 or 5 issues out so far) from DC called Batman ’66 which is written and drawn in the style of the Adam West TV show for all of the people who miss that era.

    • Humanoid says:

      It’s not so much that I miss 60s Batman as it being the case that it’s the only Batman I know. Sure I watched the Burton movies, but it’s a vague childhood memory nowadays. I have no recollection of the Schumacher ones (no idea if I’ve seen them after reading the Wikipedia synopses), and haven’t watched any of the latest rebooted films either.

      Batman: The Movie, on the other hand, I own in glorious Blu-ray colour. And incorrect as it may be, it’s my idea of the canonical Batman.

      That said, as of yesterday’s Humble Bundle, I do at least own a couple of Batman games. But I have no real motivation to play them. The real new Batgame is Scribblenauts Unmasked, which I am interested in.

    • Mumbles says:

      +111000000 I FUCKING LOVE THAT COMIC and the art is so preetttyyyy it’s like the only digital comic i subscribe to weekly

  17. Astor says:

    Oh, I found The Void to be good! It was impenetrable as Shamus said, and yes you’ll most probably doom yourself into an unwinnable state before too long, super hard (like what happened to me, and never came back to the game). There are patches for making the game easier if any brave soul wants to (re)visit it, I’ll some day try to revisit it and see if there’s something interesting going on as you get deeper into the game (there is a story there). Also, the game had even more nudity but the publisher reduced that for going out of Russia and they also revamped the story. (Also also I distinctly remember there being a save option!)

    This game is from Ice-Pick Lodge the marvels behind Pathologic, Cargo! The Quest for Gravity and Knock-Knock!.

  18. A Gould says:

    Count me in the “retro-Batman” camp. Not because of tradition, but just because I’m tired of the “Dark Knight” style film noir Batman. I skipped the last two Bat-movies (and yes, I know Joker is awesome), because I’m just.. worn out on the ultra-real, ultra-gritty version. Do we need Adam West level camp? No, but I wouldn’t mind a swing back towards the Tim Burton Batman – a world where all the crazy fits a bit better.

    • It’s probably because it’s my childhood version, but I still think Batman: The Animated Series had one of the best interpretations and aesthetic. It was dark, noir-ish with an art deco sensibility, and the plots comfortably switched between serious stories and the more silly affairs.

      Edit: And I just discovered it’s free on Amazon Prime. There goes my next few days.

  19. Cybron says:

    Dear Rutskarn,

  20. Dave B. says:

    Dear Rustkarn (and anyone else)

    Do you think that if someone would set up a TF2 server with no hats or non-standard items allowed (except maybe the original achievement update items), you could get some of that feeling of “the way TF2 used to be”? Has the community changed too much? Have the game mechanics changed too much? Would anyone even be interested in doing that?

    • Monteizo says:

      I doubt it, though it would certainly be worth a try. I think that the community having changed is the main reason for people feeling it is not the old TF2, as the people you used to play with may have moved on and while new people come things are never going to be exactly the same.

      Really the only new weapons that tend to be overused are the Machina and the Phlog despite both being inferior to the alternatives (especially the Phlog, it is without a doubt the worst flamethrower in the game, the Machina is decent at least, the only thing it really does most of the time is to make the location of the sniper using it more obvious). As for hats, as long as you ignore the trading community they do actually in my mind help with making things more personal as the whole domination system was designed to do (you not only recognize enemies by name if they kill you all the time, but you will when you see an enemy not only see what class (as hats doesn’t really make that any harder, the classes are all still distinct even when using the silliest hats), but if they are that guy that constantly kills even if he hasn’t managed to dominate you yet), as well as help give your teammates more personality even in cases where no one ever says anything.

      On to the server, the main problem would be to actually get people to play on the server, I know that for one group of servers I have favorited despite a number of people often expressing great interest in no random crits the nocrit server is almost always empty (well the arena server is also nocrit and actually sees some activity most of the time but that is just that gamemode) unlike the other servers, I personally sometimes join when there are a few people on it even though I personally don’t mind random crits.

    • Rutskarn says:

      If I was going to set up a server to get my old crew back into TF2, I know setting it to Vanilla would be step one.

      If nothing else, it equalizes the old and new players by removing stuff added in the interim.

      • I had no internet connection last week, but wanted to play tf2. So I loaded up a map with bots – no custom items.
        Most of the magic I had missed came back instantly. It was fun. It was enjoyable – despite playing with bots. And it felt like the first actual game of tf2 I had played in a long time.

  21. Ilseroth says:

    Man I am surprised there aren’t more “dear rutskarn” posts,

    But why not:

    Dear Rutskarn: How hard is it to work on a game with Shamus. Since the project is literally a one man dev team he probably already had his main ideas of how the story would pan out. I mean I have designed a few games but know I am a rubbish writer, so would need someone more apt to actually write the dialogue proper.

    So has Shamus been relatively tight on the leash? Or allow you more personal freedom to shape a back story to both of your liking?

    • Rutskarn says:

      It’s a pretty ideal arrangement. He had a good idea of what he wanted to accomplish and explained it well. I did a gradient of treatments for it, and he pointed out the things he did and didn’t want more of. We figured out how much writing we needed, and I started writing it.

      Then, when I was finished, he said, “That’s good, that’s good, that doesn’t work, that’s good, that doesn’t work,” and I replace the bad stuff.

      We operate pretty independently, and it requires a lot less time and organization than, say, Unrest.

      So, are you looking for someone to write a game? In what capacity and what sort?

      • Paul Spooner says:

        And if you need a writer, do you need a 3D artist as well? How about a game designer?

      • Ilseroth says:

        Such an expedient and reasonable reply, absolutely no dirt at all! And with regards to the “And my axe, and my 3d modeling skills.” while kind and amazing; unfortunately most of my design work it purely speculative and mostly in game systems; I have only minor programming knowledge and not the forthwith nature needed to actually construct and lead a project.

        Primarily due to my nature to design project far beyond what a starting group would actually be capable of producing, as I am sure most designers have trouble doing. My question was purely of the speculative nature and I find the both immediate and direct nature with which both you and other commentators to even consider offering assistance to be both awesome and actually kind of motivating, it is a shame I don’t have a more concrete project in mind :)

        Now that I have my amazement at this community out of the way, it is good to hear you have such a solid working relationship with such specific boundaries with who does what. To be in a working condition that you get to do what you like with people you like is rare, and to do as such without conflict is even more so, so bravo you two keep it up.

  22. Gordon says:

    Dear Rutskarn

    (Actually, Dear mumbles)

    Have you seen or heard of “Batman: The Brave and the Bold?” It’s a cartoon that had a couple of seasons, which is just solid silver age, and absolutely fantastic. It totally has the Joker’s ridiculous car, plus Bat-mite, orange-shirted Aquaman, etc. It has a bunch of homages to silver age batman that I absolutely love, but I might be biased because Blue Beetle is a major supporting character, and Blue Beetle is my favorite.

    Not a lot of riddler, tragically. and I think the Joker only shows up around the end of the first season? I was pleased by that, actually. I’m kind of fed up with the joker.


  23. sofawall says:

    So I’m not sure what your stance is on ads, but if I recall correctly you’re fairly against the stupid Evony-type ads. There appears to be one inhabiting your sidebar at the moment.


  24. Patrick Johnston says:

    Dear Rutskarn

    I actually have two separate question areas.. 1) Who/what are you favorite authors/series? Any particular favorites to recommend.
    2)on your elder scrolls franchise play through are you using mods? If so do you add just bug fixes or game changing mods.

    P.S. Yay mumbles.

    • Rutskarn says:

      1.) My answers to this are probably boring. Discworld and Hitchhiker’s Guide are probably my favorite novel series, and everyone’s read those. As far as graphic novels go, my favorite series is by far Transmetropolitan, which I could write a dozen essays on.

      The book I’ve had the most fun reading lately is “The Book of the Sword,” a nonfiction treatise from the late 19th century. It’s penned by Richard Burton, an actual real-life adventurer (seriously, read his Wiki article) and scholar. One third of his footnotes on weaponry source from academic research, one third from specimens he’s seen in his travels abroad, and one third from perilous firsthand research.

      2.) Morrowind is the first game in the series that takes mods. I added a suite of bug fixes (the standard fan patch, minus a lot of tweaks that I thought were fussy or overstepped the boundaries of “patch”) and something to let me play at a 1600×900 resolution. I don’t intend to modify Oblivion in anyway way, but when I get to Skyrim, I’ll probably make some changes because I remember so much of Skyrim being boring or oddly designed.

      The big thing, I think, will be adding Frostfall, a mod that adds immersive in-depth mechanics for avoiding hypothermia. I have to say, if it works as advertised, I’ll be very impressed. You could build a whole game around a simulation this robust.

      • Bearded Dork says:

        Frostfall and Imps Realistic Needs changed the game entirely for me. I no longer care about dragons, I’m just roaming around the countryside eating sleeping and not freezing to death.

        Sadly, it’s kind of a better game that way.

      • ulrichomega says:

        If absolutely love the idea of FrostFall, but I think it would take a bit more for it to really work. As is, there’s little to no feedback on how cold you are. Even something as simple as frost-breath in front of you would work wonders.

        But the idea of the mod is great. It means you have to constantly be paying attention to your surroundings, and gets you so much more immersed in the world than any other mod I’ve seen.

  25. Phantos says:

    I have a soft spot in my heart for tough indie games, with an emphasis on randomized content. Spelunky, Binding of Isaac, Rogue Legacy, etc.

    I just wish I weren’t so bad at them. D:

  26. Bearded Dork says:

    Mildly curious about what made this ad appear. May want to nuke that one.

  27. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Batman has officially amazed me.Spoilers ahead:
    When you catch the joker,and he talks with harley,its the same speech you find in the first game,only now you realize that he was actually talking about batman,and not her.

  28. Heaven Smile says:

    01:11:03 “Have you ever seen people defending campy Batman? because i have never seen them”

    There must be. It will defy probability it they didn’t exist.

    Sure, we dont know if there was a backlash against Gothic Batman or the Tim Burtom’s Batman in 1989 (who killed people and Batman isn’t supposed to do that) because there was no Internet back then and i am not sure we can find data on that NOW, but there HAS to be.

    In fact, here is something weird: Remember the movie Highlander 1? how it was a very good stand alone movie and how the second movie, Highlander 2: The Quickening, was SO BAD that is the punchline for bad movies even today? it had a pretty big backlash enough to ensure the directors try to make a Director’s Cut to appease the fans, and even make a remake-sequel with the 3rd movie. So it seems that people CAN make their voices be heard enough to make a lasting change.

    But the odd thing is that Highlander is just a new IP that SOMEHOW got a big enough audience to cry for a proper sequel, compared to….say….the Christopher Reeve Superman films. Those films ALSO committed a sin for the fans of the original comics, which is just the same sin that people are calling out in the new Man of Steel movie: (SPOILERS for both movies)

    Superman KILLS General Zod. Superman II does it by sending him to a wall and fall down to his death in the theatrical cut. Man of Steel does it by snapping Zod’s neck.

    The weird parts comes in when you realize that a franchise that is old as fuck like Superman doesn’t get a big backlash when they portrait him wrong, but the new IP that is barely 10 years old not only gets a BIGGER backlash, but also a new cut to please the fans.

    But who knows? maybe there were no complains about the Batman and Superman films for not being “like the original”. Maybe because people just reacted the same way The Phantom Menace or Bayformers like “I am just happy that at least my hobby is getting the big screen or is relevant again. We must cherish what little we have” (insert joke about doing the same to Art games despite their total suckage here). Or maybe because complaining about it would mean that SOMEONE watched to originals and be embarrassed in front of everyone.

    Remember the “Bat-Dance”?:

    Remember when the theatrical cartoons of Superman (Eleventh Hour) show him punching stereotypes of Japanese people? good times:

  29. Spammy V says:

    Oh hey, we touched on some games I have and played in this podcast.

    Home: Was boring. Nothing happened. Nothing at all happened. All the tension built up into nothing. No plot. No resolution. That’s my final word on Home: Nothing happened.

    The Void: I feel like I need to keep playing this. The way you have the colorless floating island world is totally my thing. It’s the kind of craziness that drew me into Zeno Clash. But the problem with The Void is that it’s incredibly obtuse and every answer just leads into more jargon. You get the color and put the color in your [keyword] and then put it in your heart which makes it into [keyword] and… I still don’t get it. I put the color in my heart, and then what happens to it? Does it turn into my “mana” color or do I have to do something else to make it into my life color?

    Also, the problem with The Void is that it’s all mouse gestures, and the gestures aren’t overlaid on the screen. And they want you to be highly accurate with what you’re drawing. I’ve drawn the Donor glyph a dozen different times after watching the demonstration video a dozen times and I still haven’t gotten it right once.

    So The Void is crazy and obtuse but it looks neat and I want to keep playing it to see where it goes.

    Team Fortress 2: What I’ve found myself really playing lately when I start Team Fortress 2 is either Vs. Saxton Hale/Freak Fortress 2 or Smash Fortress. The first set is a mod that pits one large team against one single superpowered boss. And it’s fun, except for the way that the community has these annoying double standards. It’s perfectly fine for Soldiers and Spies to run away from the boss when they’re the only ones left and take things to time, but bosses can’t end matches by capturing the control point, because that’s a noob move. Oh, and don’t use your rage to end things quickly either, because only noobs use the powers the bosses are given.

    Smash Fortress alters things so that the game plays like Super Smash Brothers, in that characters don’t die from damage but rather take increasing damage from knockback and the goal is to get a ringout. It’s fun, just… it needs balance that I don’t know if the modders can get. Heavy is useless because the minigun only has 50 ammo and doesn’t deal as much knockback as you need it too. Heavy can’t dodge damage, and the Heavy isn’t as weighty as he should be for balance.

    Sniper, on the flip side of things, I would say is too good. Huntsman arrows do so freaking much damage. And then you have the Jarate/Bushwacka combo so you get full crits when you melee. Or you can use the SMG which is just a very cheesy weapon. Also you can Jarate people during the countdown. Spawn locations are randomized around the map so you can spawn within a mini-sentry’s range, and unlike in Smash Brothers you don’t have a period of entry invulnerability.

    But… it is kind of fun still. Blasting people around as a Soldier or Demo is a ton of fun. Scouts can wail on people’s faces and it’s fun. Pyro can do so much work if you’re good with your flare shots. If you’re a good Spy, you can send people off the map with a backstab and snipe people off of ledges with your pistol. And… uh.. Heavy is useless, Medic can’t really heal enough, Engineer is more just annoying that useful.

    Basically what I think they need to do with Smash Fortress is get into the guts and rip everything out and start from the ground up on this “Team Fortress with Smash Brothers mechanics” idea. It’s really impressive what they’ve done with the mod but they need to do more, I think, and I wonder just how much they can do within the limits of the Source Engine.

    And uh… that’s what I think about the games they talked about that I played.

    • Nordicus says:

      The Donor glyph? Oh yeah, most people have had problems with it because there’s one rather arbitrary detail that game looks for when you draw it.

      That alpha symbol that you draw needs to have the lower line be a bit long for the gesture to register. There should be one or two videos on Youtube that tell exactly how it’s drawn. The in-game video is an insufficient guide, unfortunately.

      For other glyphs the system works fine, but Donor Glyph gives people problems

  30. Heaven Smile says:

    6:10 “Is it about hiding the bodies before the cops show up?”
    No, but you sort off do that in The Last Express as soon as you start.

    10:15 “It would be like the movie “Clue” ended with Tim Curry turning to the camera and be like: “Well Audience, who do you think murder him?””

    Well, Isaac Asimov thought it was a good idea to do just THAT in his board game “Isaac Asimov’s ROBOTS”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGEuFaGkG1A

    */Long post. Have some music:/*

    10:42 “Its like: “Oh Well its whatever you want it to be” NO! there HAS to be an answer to the actual mystery. You cant just say that everything i choose is right.”
    Why not? what if the point of the story is that there is no right answer to what happened? If there is no extra scene showing us “This is what REALLY happened” then i assume that the game is trying to LITERALLY put us in the shoes of someone that has no clue whats is going on. They are trying to imitate a Real Lifeâ„¢ reaction of a normal person, either to accept the fact that the wife is dead, or go delusional and say that he never had one.

    Why both options? because it CAN happen. There is no way to predict how X person would react, just a bunch of different possibilities (but in this case they sadly gave 2, assuming there is no more options and that you are telling me all the details).

    Now you may be saying: “In Fiction there is ALWAYS an answer because the author can manipulate the events to ensure there is one, unlike Real Lifeâ„¢” Yes, and that answer is that there is no answer.

    “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” -Mark Twain

    The way Josh worded it reminded me of several arguments i witnessed before. Like the idea that Roger Ebert had that the author is the highest authority and shouldn’t give any power to the entitled audience? (which is why you dont want to be given the option to choose, because you are not worthy of doing the finishing touches). And the kind of mentality that says that having an author that can’t take a stand on ANYTHING means that there can’t be no Art? As in, the artists has to say “THIS is the meaning of life” or “THIS is my political or moral stance!”, despite the fact that saying that one person could hold all the answers of life is disingenuous and dishonest.

    Maybe videogame developers are more humble than we give them credit for, since they know that there is no such thing as an objective answer to life’s problems, and they have no need to spoon-feed anyone with false pretenses (either that, or they read too much Nietzsche)

  31. Heaven Smile says:

    I think the Diecast got the wrong impression on The Void, since its supposed to be a HORROR game, not an Arty game. Then again, when Shamus describes things like “a world in black & white” they picture in their minds something like that one same lvl on “No Time To Explain” (At 2:23 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUj1CjzJl10) and not an abysmal grey place devoid of ANY life (you know, like the tittle is suppose to imply)

    The game is difficult even WITH cheats because Lore-wise the afterlife is about to collapse due to your interference with the balance. Color is so scarce and so necessary for “life” here, that wasting it on the Sisters intead of producing more is a taboo. As one of the Brothers said in their “Eldrich Abomination Morality”:

    Triumphator: “Giving is an unquestionable evil, so taking must be an unquestionable good!”

    Think of this game like the crossbreed between Dark Souls and old Sierra games where a single mistake costs you the entire game. Did i mention there is a time limit? even Star Control 2 was more forgiving with the time limit of the Death March:

    00:37:14 “Combat takes place with mouse gestures”
    Think of Peter Molineux’s “Black & White” gesture system, but the game slows down so you can complete the gesture you want. Its actually a good thing given how you will have to fight for your life.

    Maybe you SHOULD do a Spoiler Warning Season on it, since its said to be a mysoginistic piece of crap too, despite the fact that the villians are the Brothers and not the Sisters, who are treated like shit, or is it? Many of the Brothers seem quite abusive to the Sisters, and refer to them as bloodthirsty beasts who must be put down for their own good and the good of others. The Brothers may be inexplicable assholes, but they are protecting what is effectively their version of heaven and some of them actually care about you. The Sisters may seem like helpless damsels, but most of them are either just using you or apathetic and ready to die.

    But i guess its JUST an Art game. Its easy to classify it that way.

    “All the easy routes only lead down. Or haven’t you understood anything?” “” Master Color


  32. Deadpool says:

    EVERY story about “early” Batman involved Batman fucking up. It’s how writer differentiate between early Batman and current Batman…

  33. Bendix says:

    I say, someone teach that woman how to talk like a proper lady.

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