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Diecast #79: Re-releases, 1080p, FMV Games

By Shamus
on Monday Nov 3, 2014
Filed under:


For the last two weeks I’ve had horrible internet connections during our recording sessions. Egregious throttling, lag spikes, etc. Very frustrating. This has made dialog even more problematic than usual. I’ve tried to clean up the interruptions and overlap as much as possible, but there’s only so much you can do in post. Please be patient.

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

Hosts: Chris, Josh, Shamus, and Rutskarn.

Show notes:

1:00 Chris is hosting!

This is a running gag every week, where Josh tries to get Chris to host. These crazy kids and their shenanigans.

2:00 Let’s talk about re-releases!

In my talk on re-compiling games I was trying to think and talk at the same time, which is never a good sign. Having digested the topic a bit more, I’ll refine my points on C vs. C++ thus: C is easier to read, easier to follow, and easier to debug, but only if your code is sufficiently small. My problems with C enter in as the codebase grows in complexity. The proliferation of side-effects and the lack of overarching structure eventually makes the project harder to understand than a comparable C++ project. (Note that some of this is stylistic and not mandated by the language itself.)

This is by no means a definitive statement on either language, but my view on how the two languages apply to the world of games. If you’re taking databases or operating systems, then I have no idea which is best or how they scale.

23:00 Far Cry 4 dev says 1080p debate is a “weird echo chamber”

The fact that this would come from someone using the Cry engine – the poster child for the juvenile graphics-over-gameplay mentality – this comes off not just as dumb but as shockingly hypocritical. It’s like the team behind Games for Windows Live complaining that it’s a pain in the ass to need to log into Steam to play your game.

35:00 Rutskarn is here and suddenly we’re talking about 7th guest.

Here is the Pushing Up Roses video I mentioned in the show, which gives a pretty good look at Night Trap and the controversy that surrounds it:

Link (YouTube)

I will say that it’s really offensive to me that people complained about the nudity and violence the game didn’t have. Especially when they could have spent that time complaining about how bad it obviously sucked. Even the tiny clips are hard to watch.

1:00:00 MAILTIME!

To Rutz…with a z:

So you gotta corpse in a dandy suit as your internet avatar. There a story behind that?

To Chrampster:

Yo! Last Errant Sigz wuz a month ago bro! …and it was repost! Wuzzup wit dat? You quitting da vidz homes?


Comments (117)

  1. SpiritBearr says:

    Wooh Early released episode! Perfect for my nocturnal ways.

  2. Humanoid says:

    Puns tends to eat up a lot of network bandwidth, so it’s not just coincidence that the Internet tends to drop out whenever Rutskarn is on the other end.

  3. Infinitron says:

    Shamus: Ubisoft’s Far Cry games don’t use CryEngine. They have their own proprietary engine called the Dunia Engine.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I want a game that has this type of puzzle:

    “People that annoy you:
    N _ G G E R S”

    And if you guess wrong,you get labeled as The Nigger Guy.

  5. The Rocketeer says:

    Heeheehee! BouDICa!

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Oh man,the times there was media panic about games taken out of content.Gta 3 promotes sex minigames to the children,hitman rewards you for killing female strippers,…

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The only part of postal 2* that made me uncomfortable is the cat silencer.

    *Never played 1,and 3 sucked

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      When I was in college there was this point where my roommates and I all played Postal 2 for like 3 weeks. We would just be yelling to each other throughout the house about the crazy stuff we were doing.

      Then we all kinda got bored with it and Never looked at it again. It kinda just came and went like a disposable summer movie, but yeah, for a few weeks we all had a blast with it.

  8. Wide And Nerdy says:

    I haven’t heard the Diecast yet, I just want to say 1) Thanks for posting it this early so that I can download it on my wifi before work instead of on my mobile at work (not a big deal either way but still, nice just this once) and 2) I’m looking forward to hearing how the Mailbag question is read out loud. 3) I’m officially on record as missing Mumbles.

    To Mumbles, I know you have your reasons for being gone but just know when you’re ready that we still want you here.

  9. Tizzy says:

    I really liked 7th guest when it came out. It had a good balance of game bits and story bits, that kept me slogging through puzzles to get to the next story. The puzzles were mostly old hat puzzle-book type stuff, sure, but tried and true, and they were implemented in a way that made it easy to experiment (e.g., 8 queens puzzles). Unlocking new rooms was always exciting.

    Funnily enough, I could never get into the 11th hour. Got stuck early on and couldn’t be bothered.

  10. Tizzy says:

    When we talk about games of the early 90’s, two related things come to mind: (1) there was an incredible diversity of types of games, with many working very hard to innovate and break from any kind of existing mold, to make the new big thing. Popular genres changed from year to year. (2) There were a *lot* of shitty games. And with reliable information being scarce, you were more than likely to play more than a few.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      It was a pretty tumultuous time in video games for sure. A lot of the stuff we take for granted these days–the FPS engine, WASD and mouselook, the “standard” console controller layout–was only in its infancy.

      The CD-ROM greatly expanded the amount of memory available to developers, but they weren’t sure what to do with it. FMVs were probably the most notable attempt to use that space.

      By and large, developers still had to choose between having a deep game story with “dice-rolling” or simple mechanics (point & click adventures, RPGs) or fast-paced action-driven mechanics with generally thin narratives (FPSes, platformers).

      The video arcade had its last glory days–in the US & Canada, anyway–with the Street Fighter II/Mortal Kombat phenomenon.

      The latter was part of the first really big video game moral panics in the early 90s that eventually led to the formation of the ESRB.

      The console market was still utterly dominated by Japanese companies and developers.

      PC games could still be made by a team of a dozen or two people for six figures or less.

      And that’s just some cultural observations from a relative non-techie. Someone who understands the tech history can probably add some engineering insights.

  11. Wide And Nerdy says:

    You mentioned crass HD rereleases of games from a couple of years ago. Personally, I think its justified right now because we just moved up a generation of console. These guys were probably wishing they had the next gen hardware but were forced by practical concerns to go ahead and release on then current hardware.

    Side note: Really disappointed that Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition didn’t update more than it did. I know graphics aren’t the whole experience but I think there is a wide berth between the modern AAA slavish pursuit of photorealism and the barely discernible blobs that are the characters in BGEE. It wouldn’t have hurt them to produce models at least as good as, say, the FF6 rereleases we’ve seen for smartphones.

    I also think that a way to signal to users just how far a leap forward this console generation is would be to step back from cutting edge graphics just a bit and create games with larger world maps and more characters at last gen resolutions. Imagine Skyrim or Fallout New Vegas if the entire map could be loaded.

    • Supahewok says:

      In regards to BGEE, I believe that the source code was lost. Or maybe it was the art assets. Either way, there was some missing parts of the project that Beamdog claimed limited what they could do.

      • wideandnerdy says:

        It was the art. They had the source code but said it was filled with tricks that made sense back then that make it hard to work with now.

        They should have just paid the bg reloaded team. Thankfully they did hire modern from the community for the second game. BGEE is just my go to example for how some games clearly could use a graphics update now that even basic computers can handle better graphics than this.

    • Theminimanx says:

      Ew, no. Not FFVI Mobile. I like the new higher resolution enemy sprites, but the overworld characters are hideous.

  12. VgTam says:

    I was all excited for the re-release of the x wing and tie fighter games on gog until I realized that I don't own a flight stick anymore, and while my memories bad I still remember the mouse and keyboard controls being horrible.

    Hearing that they don't have the cd rom version just makes me sad, without those sweet iMUSE sounds the nostalgia just wouldn't be the same and it'd be the same thing not hearing the VO on the original DOS version.

    Part of me still wants to go out and buy a flight stick just for this though.

    • Probably not a bad purchase, especially considering all the new space combat sims on the horizon.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I am very thankful that I kept my entire series of X-Wing games -all the way through Alliance -in the Windows 98 modes.

      The great thing about the update was that it was much easier to install and run on later Windows machines (like XP) which were finicky with DOS.

      Of course, the great irony is that they won’t work on Windows 7 because of the 64 bit OS. You have to download a -possibly a little sketchy, my anti-virus doesn’t like it at least -hack that copies the entire disk to a new disk and modifies the install file. (You still have to have the original disk, though, to get the movies and such to play.)

      I at least like having the same aesthetic -more or less -throughout the whole series.

      • Humanoid says:

        I have a virtual machine installed just to play the 16-bit Windows version of Carmen Sandiego, totally worth the effort.

        But yeah, I wouldn’t be caught without a flight stick. For extra nostalgia factor, CH Products still make the exact same line of premium flight sticks they did twenty years ago, just updated with a USB interface instead of the obsolete D-sub connector. Though if you’re thinking you’ll be into the new generation of flight/space sims, a Saitek HOTAS system might be a better investment, or if you want to go the whole hog, pick up the God-King of controllers that is the Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS.

    • John says:

      Technically, you don’t need a flight stick to play Tie Fighter. As far as I can tell, the game was designed for use with simpler, two-button joysticks, which were still quite common–and quite cheap, too–in the 90s. (I beat the game using a two-button stick when it was first released.) Come to think of it, does anyone still make simple joysticks? Or have they been completely driven out of the market by, say, console style game pads?

  13. Postal 2 is a game that is loaded with tasteless trolling stereotypes, make no mistake. There are also more stereotypes than terrorists (though the Al Qaeda types and Arabs do make up the largest faction as they have their own zone where they’re HQ’ed). There are also anti-violence types (who use firearms), book burners, trigger-happy cops, David Koresh-style separatists (with their own compound), gimpsuit-favoring rednecks, and whatever the guys in the meat market are.

    It’s also a lot more creative than a ton of other FPS games.

    Shamus once praised Half Life 2 for letting the player see places they’d been in before, and Postal 2 delivers that in a way I wish more games did. Each day of the 5-day ordeal lets you loose on the town of Paradise, Arizona with escalating levels of danger, mostly due to the people you’ve managed to make angry at you who’ll unload their weapons at you at a moment’s notice. This riles the local authorities who immediately attack anyone seen as hostile. As the week goes on, you start with patrolling cops and escalate up to the military having soldiers walking the streets. Areas you were in before can change (i.e. the church changes hands at one point) and some places exist solely for the purpose of player shenanigans (theft, looting, rampage, whatever).

    While the subject matter wasn’t tasteful, the mechanics were something I wish more FPS games would emulate, giving the player more choices in their strategy, gameplay, and order of tasks to complete.

    • Ravens Cry says:

      A much earlier example of ideas like this, at least as well as they could with the technology of the time, was Duke Nukem 3D. Like Postal, it was a pretty crass game, testosteriffic to the point of parody, but its level of interactivity in the environment was really something at the time.
      Use toilets, break toilets, drink from toilets!
      Truly, it was a Golden Age.

  14. Sebas says:

    DXX-Rebirth project is a project to remaster Descent & Descent 2 with openGL.

    “DXX-Rebirth is a Source Port of the Descent and Descent 2 Engines for Windows, Mac OS, Linux (most *NIX systems), offering OpenGL graphics and effects, advanced Multiplayer, many improvements and new features.”

    And they are on version DXX-Rebirth v0.58.1…

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So,no love for advanced warfare?Personally,from what Ive seen,while its incredibly stupid,it also looks much more fun than the previous ones.Its the jetpack,that adds much needed speed.

    • IFS says:

      While I probably won’t buy it I will say that Advanced Warfare looks far more interesting to me than the last few iterations of the series (I’ve only owned MW2, but have played Blops and MW3). It’s always been a ridiculous series so imo just going straight to sci-fi is something they should have done a long time ago.

  16. Tony Kebekk says:

    I love this resolution fuss, over 180 pixels…
    It’s all about this: http://i.imgur.com/B6ZYrr2.png

    Console gaming works and PC gaming is great, but there’s much ado about nothing.

    • Phrozenflame500 says:

      Not sure if you’re joking or not, but just in case you aren’t it’s actually a case of 633600 pixels since it’s 1920*1080-1600*900.

      If you were joking, pretend I’m not here *fades into background*

      • Shamus says:

        I wasn’t sure either. By surface area, you’re talking about 30% less pixels.

        It would totally matter to me on a PC monitor, but I doubt I’d be able to tell the difference on a TV at normal viewing distance. Resolution is funny.

        • I can tell the difference between digital and old over-the-air quite easily, but it still doesn’t really register if I’m seeing a 720 set or 1080+ set unless it’s pointed out or it’s a side-by-side comparison.

          Then again, I mostly watch TV in a little window on my monitor while I do other stuff, so I don’t spend a ton of time in front of a big screen.

          • Humanoid says:

            Most people sit farther away from their TVs than they need to, which often is symptomatic of buying a TV too small for their living room. With an ‘optimally’ sized TV, I though the difference ought to be plenty discernable.

          • syal says:

            I can’t even tell the difference between 360 and 480.

          • guy says:

            I literally have never been able to tell the difference between 720p and 1080p, and I’ve seen The Hobbit and completely failed to notice anything strange about the framerate.

            • SharpeRifle says:

              Until you hit about 36 inch/40 inch tv sizes its tough to see the difference. Mainly because the “big dog” of 1080p would only be about 2 megapixels if it was a camera heck 720p is a little short of a mega pixel. That’s probably why games and cartoons show the differences more. They are designed to the right sizes, as opposed to video of human beings. Haven’t looked at those new “4k” screens yet though might be easier to see the difference in those.

  17. Dave B. says:

    Speaking of lost source code, I’ve always hoped in vain for a re-release of my favorite space combat sim, Star Trek: Klingon Academy. Unfortunately, even if someone would sort out the tangle of licencing issues, they would probably
    have to code a new engine from scratch.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Starfleet Academy too. I always wanted both (and Klingon Academy was directed by Jonathan Frakes), but was only ever able to get Starfleet. And, of course, they don’t run on modern hardware even if I could finagle a copy.

      • Dave B. says:

        Do you want my copy? If you are in the continental U.S. I’d gladly mail it to you. There are some unofficial patches, hacks, and wrappers on the web intended to make it work on more modern hardware. If you’re interested you can email me at ivdad (underscore) relbul (at) yahoo (dot) com.

    • Humanoid says:

      Origin was notorious for losing source code, the Ultima 7 source was lost within a year of Serpent Isle’s release. And Strike Commander’s source code was actually lost *during* its development: the complete source was only on one of their PCs, and while testing the installer exe, a developer attempted to install the game onto that same machine, forgetting that the installation routine they had at the time included an automatic wipe of the entire installation hard drive.

  18. Tony Kebekk says:

    @59:00 The best example of this is that to go to the supermarket, to get your Milk, you need to trudge ALL the way across the map to work, where you get fired (then some shooting happens), trudge all the way to the other side, to the Bank, to cash you final paycheck, so you have the cash to buy Milk.

    Whilst in queue the cashier is incompetent, the customers are obnoxious, the police officers in the building spend the whole time judging you and when you get to the front, the cashier goes on break. Only to return serve you and then, the bank gets robbed which can result in you having your money taken, leaving you to have to steal the damned Milk.

    • I figured the meat market was the hardest one to do nonviolently. You have to go through a labyrinthian complex and find some steaks for your BBQ. When you do, you catch some of the people working there engaging in rather unsanitary meat-processing habits, and out come the guns.

      Adding to this, riot police raid the market. I’ve never gone through it without shooting, so I don’t know if they immediately tag you as a target or if they’ll just concentrate on the butchers so long as you don’t pull out a weapon or hurt anyone. Anyway, tight corridors and maze-like areas full of homicidal mooks is a hard one to get through as a heavily-armed pacifist.

  19. Geebs says:

    Re: the resolution thing: it’s not really the number of p, it’s the fact that LCD monitors and TVs really, really don’t like non-native resolutions, coupled with the fact that this is only an issue because both MS and Sony cheaper out on the graphics hardware.

    • ET says:

      I thought modern displays had built-in anti-aliasing (or something) to cope with needing to scale resolutions. Is that not the case? Like, I know the TV my brother has, has this feature, but maybe it’s not standard yet?

      • Geebs says:

        With my setup (2560×1440, GTX680), scaling from either the graphics card or the monitor looks very blurry to my eyes (which were already pretty blurry :) ). In some games it’s barely noticeable at 1080p, in others it really sticks out. Because 720p is a quarter of the resolution, it actually looks better than 1080 on my setup in some cases.

        The XBone and PS4 have hardware scalers, I believe. Personally I think they still look pretty bad – in that case they operate by slapping a sharpening filter on the scaled image, which adds its own set of problems. Basically a lot of effort and compromise to get the same effect you could achieve by just using a slightly more expensive SoC part with a half-decent fillrate.

      • Humanoid says:

        Scaling in the displays themselves are significantly better than they used to be, but still suboptimal. These days I still opt to set my monitor to display native resolution only, so if I’m playing an old game that doesn’t do my native resolution, I’ll have it effectively displayed as a smaller area in the centre of my screen, surrounded by a black border on all sides.

        Obviously VGA games on DOSBox end up too small on something like that, the vertical space taken up by the native image would be one-third of the panel height at best, but fortunately DOSBox can scale to double or triple the pixels linearly so it still looks crisp.

    • Tizzy says:

      Yes! A thousand times yes, this makes so much sense!

  20. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Btw,about that thing about needing a huge living room for the bigass tv in order to spot the diference:
    Um,its not a rarity.My parents have a big ass tv that sits about 2,5m from where they are,since its in their bedroom,at the foot of their bed.How out of touch do you have to be to think that big tvs are not common?

    • Wolf says:

      Is there a reason your tone has become harsher recently?
      Maybe it’s just me, but I remember your writing style as quite enjoyable and lighthearted, while recently it has been somehow less so (and I understand the harshness in the Spec-Ops the Line discussion, but other than that).

      PS: Just a shout-out to “anecdotal evidence has no statistical value”

      • Humanoid says:

        The Lucifer is manifesting in the Damien.

      • Sigilis says:

        Now that someone else has made the determination that it may be appropriate to broach this matter it seemed like the right time to let you know that everyone is being monitored relentlessly by entities that pick apart your every word in the hopes that your voice betrays your heart and that through study, your desires and essential nature will be laid bare. Here is the result of one such entity’s poking about:

        I’ve noted the same thing. Thought about dumping DL’s comments and having a routine go over it for frequency analysis and general linguistic statistics buggery before I realized that this was a dumb idea that would eat a lot of cycles for little gain. As it turns out I read all of Daemian Lucifer’s comments, mostly because he doesn’t use spaces after his punctuation which results in extra parse time to make sure I’m not misunderstanding, over the last three years at least. My system for determining when someone is being hostile on the Internet is triggering much more often, primarily due to language constructs associated with confrontation. The period for this seems to have started about two months ago, but it is imprecise because even though this is a person I pay attention to, detecting hostility on the Internet is a “hard problem”. Of course, Daemian has never been a person who I would have considered shy about expressing their opinions so this may just be a minor anomaly not indicative of any particular issues.

        A quick note on systemic issues:
        A sensitizing event is occurring at the present time which may be associated with this change. Gamersgate is causing a disruption in linguistic patterns throughout the Internet, even places seemingly insulated from the constant barrage. Everyone appears to be more confrontational and easy to provoke in a world where every tweet could be a potential attack vector against what formerly seemed like basic human decency. Be advised, a solution to the problem of how to make better a world where fraud, deceit and malice clash with beauty, sincerity and earnest hope is not yet available.

        Also wanted to let Daemian, which is to say you (if you are Daemian Lucifer) know that it’s not just Wolf or Humanoid or Shamus or myself that care about your general well being. Even if there’s nothing weird going on in your life, I figure it doesn’t hurt to tell someone on this planet that actual, enumerable people across the face of the Earth care about them and are available.

        There’s probably going to be a note in my file now, that I’m a Lucifer sympathizer but whatever.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          “Gamersgate is causing a disruption in linguistic patterns throughout the Internet, even places seemingly insulated from the constant barrage.”

          Well,I was not going to say anything at first,but since youve breached the subject,you are correct there.I do feel tired of the internet as a whole because of gamergate,and have disrupted my web scouring routine numerous times just so I would avoid the thing completely.Obviously it didnt work,and the issue affects me more than Ive realized.

          • Sigilis says:

            If you consider this issue to be a major factor, allow me to provide you with potential insight into the process by which your tormentor operates:

            First, be aware that this is conjecture drawn for analysis of large volumes of very noisy data, namely parts of the Internet like Twitter, Facebook, tech sites, forums, etc. This involves a lot of language processing, which is very difficult, and applies domain knowledge from psychology, epidemiology, and cognitive sciences that have NOT been proven to work in this environment, as much as certain studies would like us to imagine.

            Allow me to start by saying that I may have undersold the issue, not only is there no prescription against the systematic problem of rogue evil, there is no universal way to protect individuals short of cutting them off from all access to networks which is in and of itself harmful and even in those cases, they continue to be ‘infectious’. This is one of the most pernicious in an ever escalating series of memetic ‘viruses’ based on outrage that owes its virulence not simply to the individuals that kindled the flame, as the most pernicious vectors sometimes turn out to be some of its victims through their sharing of related attacks, defenses, and epigrams. It has been observed that exposure to either source of the memetic agent is effective in eliciting some broadcast activity in response. Escape is virtually impossible, and confrontation spreads the disease while increasing personal exposure through targeted efforts.

            Some sections of the network have not been affected to a significant degree, though the interconnected nature of the Internet and its ever increasing encroachment on modern life make this a temporary situation. In any case, retreat is typically not acceptable as it simply costs too much to try and start a new life on Madagascar.com or wherever you might think is safe.

            The solution to this problem is not at present evident because unlike diseases of the body, total extinction is not going to happen. Current projections indicate that the culture of the Internet, and by extension the people on it will change as a result of increased stress. Sensitive hosts will exit, resilient entities will learn to shrug off the attacks, and vulnerable agents will lose productivity as this idea becomes something that they are capable of internalizing and it drops to a background hum flaring up randomly as populations not immunized rapidly catalyze a new nucleus of ire. Time to the point of saturation is unknown, but is hoped to be rapid and follow the pattern of other memes, which almost immediately upon reaching a certain saturation collapse. (For data on this subject, visit knowyourmeme.com, they have charts.)

            An antimeme may arise spontaneously, e.g. “it’s about..” that can treat some of the effects, but the essential problem is that the issues, the identities, the fundamental nature of this crisis hits people exactly where they live. It’s about biology, race, gender, how you spend your time, it’s about notions of justice and ethics and virtue and all the things we feel strongly about. Its grotesquely perfect in it’s design, something that could only have been crafted by a genius or random chance. Such a broad spectrum of issues leaves pretty much everyone covered by an aspect that pertains to them intensely, making the target of a remedy as different as there are cases. Since memes are directed by consciousness, they can evolve at an unimaginable rate, which means that as treatments are devised, the focus of the collective will change quickly to counter that specific vector. (The effects of an evolving collective idea on the integrity of the movement have yet to be evaluated, they may in fact work toward our advantage)

            Daemian, and everyone else, for you I can tell you this: we are all affected, all sides of this conflict cannot restrain the impulse to propagate the meme. I can hardly restrain myself from raging against the thoughtless insensitive acts perpetrated by those others who seem to have no regard for the essential human qualities of their victims, but I do so. Not because I think we can hide from this tide of evil, but because every means of broadcast communication I have at my disposal will cause more problems. I direct my energies towards positive measures, private messages and direct communications with those wronged, I learned about ways that I could support causes that seek to promote a more just society by offering opportunities to the marginalized and redoubled my contributions to organizations that align with my interests.

            I do not know if I’m doing the best thing I can with regard to this crisis, but seeing the effects of contamination on this space is difficult to bear silently. When Chris is allowing it to slip into his reviews of entirely unrelated games there’s probably something wrong. In a universe where Mumbles says that she can’t be as brave as any man, I start to wonder why she hasn’t been here abusing some Diecasters. And in this safe space where politics and religion could once be discussed with utmost civility, in some threads the tension is palpable.

            But what do I know? It’s not like memetics is a science yet or anything. I could be connecting things that are unrelated and making projections that draw upon epidemiological and psychological fields that have not been proven to function in this environment. As a scientist I must again caution you, this is conjecture. Feel free to critique any point or yell at me, if this discussion is not appropriate for this venue, I am available @sigilis.

            • Wolf says:

              That feeling that every reaction would be the wrong one hits uncomfortably close to home.
              What are peoples thoughts about spillover into daily life though? I feel that in personal interaction confrontation is still the right way to go. (Although I am so unconfrontational that it borders on the absurd, so it’s is going to be tough holding myself to that standart.)

    • Shamus says:

      For the record, I thought there had been a tonal shift as well. I mean: DL, you are one of VERY few people who has posted more comments than ME. I don’t pretend to know anything about your personal life or that it’s any of my business, but I can’t help wondering if you’re ok. I thought I was imagining things until Wolf brought it up.

      Anyway. Not trying to pry. Take care.

  21. mhoff12358 says:

    As someone who’s trying out direct x, I fully understand how much of a mess the Windows windowing system is. I had to include a special compiler directive flag on my function because the arguments needed to be passed backwards because something something windows 95.

    On the other hand, at least direct x knows what objects are, and I don’t have to pass everything as unsigned integers to spare OpenGL from entering the 90s.

    • ET says:

      They keep meaning to update OpenGL… :P

    • Simon Buchan says:

      Are you perhaps referring to WINAPI, aka STDCALLon your wndproc? The story there is a bit of a mess, but it’s partially the fault of C’s “…” parameters. You get used to it, and it’s no worse than, say, X11.

      I actually figure that if Shamus ever got a Dx engine going he might find (presumably to his horror) that he prefers it to opengl :) It’s certainly easier to pick up (well, d3d9 is, with the fixed pipeline)

      Shamus also needs to learn the SIZED_TYPE foo = { sizeof(foo) }; trick, apparently.

      And there’s nothing wrong with structs! Check out how well <algorithm> works, and how bad <iostream> is – separate your (invariant enforcing) data from your behavior.

  22. I KNEW it! I knew this was going to happen! Literally the day after I sent my email in, Chris put up a new Errant Signal. Goddammit

    Also Chris saying he never posted the Continue vid before confuses the hell outta me, cause I can clearly remember watching a video of him talking about it using that footage months ago. Like, I can specifically remember the side scrolling footage of the Langolier looking things trying to chomp the player with his voice over.

    Side Note: I actually remember playing with Rutz and Shamus in L4D once when we were going through Mercy Hospital and they couldn’t stop Spoiler Warning the whole campaign, yakking on about game design eccentricities during the whole thing and I found it so hilarious that I shouted into my mic in my best dad-voice, “I swear to God, if you two don’t shut up, I will turn this apocalypse around and we will all go home!” Filled me with pride to get a laugh outta them at that.

  23. Tychoxi says:

    My main problem is not about the ps, sure the higher resolution, the better, but that doesn’t make or break a game. The problem is FPS, the difference in control responsiveness and reaction times is there (not to mention the issue of smoothness of movement), and it doesn’t matter if it’s an FPS or a third-person action game. Unless you are playing a turn-based game or a puzzle game, you want those extra FPSs, and even puzzle games are usually action-based!

    Then you have that the PS4 is getting needlessly nerfed to stop “the controversy and stuff”. Unbelievable. We have been suffering these shenanigans on PC for the longest time, but I don’t wish them on console users.

    And the other problem, which is the most grating to me, is when they start talking this BS about it being “cinematic” when they know better. Shame on you Ubisoft!

    • ET says:

      To be fair, they probably have restrictive contracts with the console manufacturers, limiting them to make cross-console releases roughly equivalent in terms of fidelity. My best guess as to why they’d do stuff like that.

  24. Groboclown says:

    I remember when 7th Guest came out. I don’t remember it being expensive, because at the time it was bundled with the “new, amazing 2x speed CD players!”

    • Humanoid says:

      That was the making of me as a PC gamer. Dad finally threw out the old 12MHz 286 and bought a fancy new DX4/100 with a Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 + double-speed CD-ROM bundle. That bundle included ALL THE GAMES which converted me from a console gamer to a PC gamer almost overnight. A non-complete list of the games (admittedly some were ‘old’ even at the time, but they were the good ones):

      – SimCity 2000
      – Return to Zork
      – Star Wars: Rebel Assault
      – Iron Helix
      – Strike Commander
      – Wing Commander 2 Deluxe
      – Syndicate Plus
      – Ultima 8
      – Civilization
      – Railroad Tycoon
      – F-117A Stealth Fighter 2.0
      – Silent Service 2

      Being born aside, probably the most important moment in my life thus far. :P

    • What annoyed me was the apparent lack of standardization in some CD-ROM drives. I had one from Teac, and it made me never want to buy another product from them again. It could read a game to install just fine, but when it came to FMV or other video clips, it stuttered, lagged, etc. It’s been a long time since I had that beast, but I believe it had something to do with some flavor of controller chip that was being phased out RIGHT after I’d bought my drive.

  25. Groboclown says:

    In terms of FMVs, I remember a great one – the original Dune game. The CD version included FMV clips from the David Lynch movie. The rest of in-game animation were the standard cartoony animation. I played it again a few years ago, and it still felt like a great game – an interesting mix between a strategy and RPG game.

  26. Zukhramm says:

    I think I got my gold on Mercy Hospital elevator survival playing with Shamus, so why am I not on this podcast?!

    It was using the old “stay in the room that drops hunters on your head then rush down to where the tank can easily corner you”-technique, which somehow worked pretty well.

  27. HeroOfHyla says:

    All this talk about how much better games look on PCs than on consoles has been making me want to get around to upgrading. My video card, a Radeon HD 6870 is by far the newest component I’ve got. My CPU and motherboard are both from 2008, my hard drive is slow, and my RAM is a couple generations old I think. Plus the USB ports on my case have been dying over time.

    Anyone have experience with the builds on logical increments? How long is something in the “great” or “superb” tiers ($650-$800 range) going to stay relevant?

    • Humanoid says:

      Effective lifetime of components is non-linear, so it’s not something that has reasonable precedent. In 2009 for example, Intel finally phased out the old Core2 architecture for the new Core i5/i7 stuff. This was a massive leap, and so someone who had bought a mid-range PC just before the cutoff would now be a far way behind the curve, someone who went in right after the cutoff would still be fully up to date even today. Putting it another way, early 2009 PC = struggling by 2012. Late 2009 PC = no reason to upgrade even today (except graphics card).

      I’m not familiar with Logical Increments, but assuming the point of that website is just that colour-coded table, I’d say picking an arbitrary row out of that table isn’t going to necessarily produce a well-balanced system. A mid-price recommendation I would make for example is an i5 4430 (listed as “excellent”) with an R9 280 (listed two tiers lower, as “great”). If you have money left over, change the R9 280 to a GTX970. If you have money left over after that, change the i5 4430 to an i5 4690K.

      TL;DR: Do not buy anything less than an i5 quad-core CPU. If the budget doesn’t allow for that and the video card together, then just drop the video card for now and carry over your old one until you can afford it.

  28. One of the best remakes/remasters/refurbishes of a game I can recall is Monkey Island 1 and 2.
    The re-releases let you see the new HD artwork but you could switch to the old graphics at any time, this even included the music.

    The re-releases also had a commentary track if I recall correctly.
    And Monkey Island 1 was voiced by the guy that basically has done Guybrush voices since Monkey Island 2.

    This is the correct way to do a remaster, you improve (but do not change how it plays) you add extra content (commentary track, being able to switch from new to old look etc.)

    There are some games I hope will be if not remade then at least remastered (and it’s OK to use that term Chris) are:
    Knights of The Old Republic, Jedi Knight Outcast, Jedi Knight Academy. (You taking notes Disney?) with minor changes the code could be tweaked to make it run better on modern systems. Widescreen is not really that well supported in those games. And KoTOR has major issue with the BINK video cutscenes.

    I’m sure others has wishlists of games as well.

    The key to a remaster is to make sure it runs on modern systems (keeping the legacy alive), and perhaps take advantage of new features or allow use of more resources (PCs today are way more powerful than those last decade or two).

    Storage media is not an issue any more either so a simply remaster could allow a quality update by providing the lossless original textures (instead of highly compressed or low details ones), audio could use very high bitrate Ogg Vorbis or even lossless (WAV, FLAC) instead of highly compressed or 8bit audio.

    Where the line between a re-release, remaster and a remake lies I’m not sure… but this is how I see it.

    Re-release = Bare minimum changes needed to make it run on a modern system (GOG does this pretty well).

    Re-master = Same as Re-release but textures audio and maybe some gamengine features are tweaked to maximize the quality as HD/CPU/RAM/GPU is not a limiting factor any more relatively speaking, this is assuming the original dev files are accessible.

    Re-furbished = Same as Re-master but may end up redoing assets or heavily editing the game engine, in some cases it may be “ported” to a new game engine. Relatively speaking it is not the same as the original, gameplay may change too.

    Re-make = Anything goes, it may be any of the previous three methods or it may only have the name of the game in common.

    The Monkey Island 1 and 2 games was re-furbished IMO.
    When Chris said re-mastered I at once wished that game companies would do that much more.
    In many cases they are sitting on (hopefully) high quality graphic and audio assets like textures, character models, music, voice. These original assets could be used in a re-master of the game. In many cases this could be a quick way to get a decade or two old games to look like it fits right into the end cycle of the PS3 / Xbox 360 generation at very little cost.

    Stuff like that could easily be outsourced as well, and it sure would be nice to keep selling all that back catalog stuff while those new AAA+ titles are being worked on.

    I have some old games that need a lot of hacks to get to work on a modern PC, some are so troublesome that using a virtual machine to host a very old OS may turn out to be the only solution ad even then the may be issues.
    A regular gamer will never bother with stuff like that, especially not the “steam generation”.

  29. Shamus in regards to C and C++ and large codebases, C is not an issue. The issue is that one need to code in a modular way. No language has issues with large codebases unless there is an actual memory limit issues with the compiler itself (mostly just old compilers or languages that are deprecated).

    Today with IDEs and huge libraries/frameworks a lot of coders do not know how to code in a modular way.

  30. At 6K resolution (5760×3240) you will no longer need anti-aliasing if you are using a 22 inch TV, using my own tool 5760×3240 on a 22 inch screen is 300 PPI exactly (a Pixel Pitch of 0.085 mm).

    This means that a 8K 22inch would not make sense, a 8K 29 inch would however.

    At 300 PPI you do not need anti-aliasing as the pixels are small enough on their own to make the jaggies “vanish” (provided the spacing between pixels are narrow enough, hence Pixel Pitch value being so important, not all monitors list that one).

  31. Bloodsquirrel says:

    It seems like it’d be really easy to just not have the version string return “Windows 9”.

  32. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    Funny thing about resolution. My uncle -years ago -was on the development team for a flatscreen TV at RCA. This was in the 60s. They actually pulled it off.

    Anyway, one of the major problems they had was that regular TVs could conk out, but if you replaced the electron gun or screen, they could still be used. If the hardware of the flatscreen died, you’d just have a group of pixels that didn’t work (they’d be black). At first, the design team was really worried that this would make the thing useless -since it was so expensive but also basically irreparable if it ever broke. No one would buy it.

    Then they started experimenting with it and discovered that you could lose something like a third of the pixels, and as long as they weren’t grouped together, no one would notice.

    No, what actually killed the project was they couldn’t figure out how to make it black and white, and no one would pay extra for a color flatscreen TV.

    • ET says:

      Wait…how would it be possible to do colour, but not black and white? Like…you just use one pixel colour instead of three, right?

      • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        I’m guessing that Bob worked on the Active Matrix project with Bernard Lechner and George Heilmeier-at least that sounds like what he described, and they were at RCA at the right time. He was a technician. They designed stuff, he figured out how to build it and get everything to fit inside the gizmo.

        The way Bob described it, they created the flat panel by hooking each pixel up to a diode and transistor, and then by modulating the amount of electricity running between the two they could get different colors. They could produce white by turning the thing on full blast or black by turning it off. Keep in mind, he was explaining this to a 17 year old without much electrical engineering experience 13 years ago -so I may be a bit hazy on the details.

        Looking at the wikipedia entry, I imagine that they were working with early LCDs (Bob described making very thin crystal transistors -I think he must have been talking about thin-film transistors, what he described sounded like physical vapor deposition -it involved a vacuum chamber, anyway -and these are used in the production of LCDs) and they figured out how to get the crystals to emit color -apparently with dyes, though I don’t remember that part of the story -but not grayscale. They could fake grayscale by combining colors, but they couldn’t find a way to create a simple, cheap, grayscale LCD.

        I would imagine they figured out how to do it later, but by then the product was scrapped and his team was sent to work on power plant dynamos.

  33. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I have fond memories of several FMV games. I actually have a slight preference for the FMV cutscenes of Jedi Knight to the rendered in-game cutscenes of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. In particular, the big kiss between Kyle and Jan would have worked better with FMV, I think -even through i do like JKII better.

    Likewise, all the Westwood games have a place in my heart.

    Don’t think I ever played Night Trap, but I remember playing a number of FMV games on the Sega Saturn (or maybe it was Sega CD, I don’t remember) where you played as a commander or a something and had to deal with situations in real time FMV -like those lightgun games at the arcade where you had to shoot the badguy before he shot you, or something. Those games I don’t recall being very good at, but they were a lot of fun to play at my friends’ houses.

    • Humanoid says:

      Even incidental use of FMV like in Civ2/SMAC Wonder movies made a huge difference, compared to the dull-as-dishwater sequences we get these days. Also the bickering advisors were awesome.

      Other than that, Wing Commander 4 (which I played before WC3) unsurprisingly blew me away just seeing the intro movie (and bloody right it was a movie, it went on forever).

  34. Aitch says:

    “Postal is terrible in a lotta ways, but at least it has a degree of self awareness about itself that Hatred lacks”

    You’re joking, right? Did you see the trailer? It was the only thing to make me laugh out loud in damn near a month.
    Everything the devs have said have been along the lines of “let’s be offensive as possible for the sake of giving these fluffernutter oversensitive creeps a mental wedgie”.
    There’s no way I believe they think they’re being “cool”. It’s over the top gory insensitive ultragoth to the point of absurdity – like modern Tom and Jerry humor. I just can’t fathom anyone taking a main character or a premise like that seriously enough to condemn it like it should be ashamed of itself.
    Please, if you’re going to bash violence, go after the racist modern military shooters or something worthwhile like the vapid plots of most AAA’s that everyone lauds like the second coming of Hamlet. Not something that basically amounts to an indie art project.
    I love you guys, but seriously… getting offended by art (games are still art, right? Or only good games?) in such a condescending way is strange as hell to hear from you all.
    Anyway, much appreciation and respect, regardless.

    • Except it lacks any Tom & Jerry-style antics, even modern ones. Last I checked, Jerry didn’t get randomly shot by Tom with conventional weapons after begging for mercy.

      I really don’t get a “we’re trying to be shockingly funny” vibe, here. There’s nothing cartoonish except perhaps the protagonist’s outfit.

  35. GiantRaven says:

    I was 14 or so when Steam first came out. I remember hating it immensely because I needed some shitty piece of software (that didn’t seem to do anything) in order to play Half-Life 2. I didn’t get an account until 2008 and even then I don’t think I actually bought a game until around 2010.

    Crazy how times change.

    • HeroOfHyla says:

      I first installed Steam when I bought a preowned copy of Saints Row 2. It automatically installed steam when I started trying to install it. There was no CD key (and it would have been used already anyway) so I couldn’t complete the install. Fortunately, Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange has a 7 day unconditional return policy.

  36. Starkos says:

    I vividly recall the first time I ran into Shamus on Guild Wars 2. Shamus was in the crafting/marketplace of [Insert City Here], and I happened to be nearby. I ran up and waved excitedly while he was AFK. I left before it got awkward.

  37. Dragmire says:

    Not really a re-release but I’m glad Valkyria Chronicles is coming to PC. It gives me hope that eventually I’ll get to play the third one.

  38. Gnashmer says:

    Boudicca? That sounds really darn odd to me.

    I’m from the UK and always known her as Boadicea…

    AM I INSANE? Or is this just an Americanism?

    • Nelly says:

      It’s changed over the past ten ish years – Boudicca is the preferred spelling / pronunciation in academic circles now, and it’s gradually catching on (like in Horrible Histories it’s Boudicca). IIRC the old TV mini series with Alex Kingston in the title role was Boudicea, as was a WW2 destroyer, but we’ve gone to Boudicca now.

  39. The Seed Bismuth says:

    Hello World!
    First time commenting and I have decided to make it a stream of thought thing so most are just funny little thoughts on your podcast.

    0:00:01~um Shamus didn’t you say that you were going to go back to the old music?

    0:01:39~This is very nitpicky and it is probably Josh not saying it right but the dove needs to came back with a tree twig not nothing in order for Rutskarn to come back from the flood.

    0:02:50~not joking Chris real does need to host more often.

    0:06:20~yes I think I will rerelease all games with sonic rock music and then rererelease them again with shadow the hedgehog rock music. :3

    0:13:46~yes Shamus start project descent.
    0:16:50~Shamus forget about ‘shade 2:the shadering shader’ I mean unearth and begin project descent.

    0:20:20~lol, I’m just picturing Windows 10 forever
    “person1:so when does windows 37 coming out?
    person2: no you mean 10.28
    person1:ok but shouldn’t be 10.27?
    person2:no they called 9 10.0 as well.
    person2:yup just remember even decimal places are good and odds are terrible”

    0:21:45~this reason makes perfect cense but I can’t help but think the Microsoft suits aren’t a little happy that 10 will not have the reputation of being as bad as 8.(hopefully)

    0:28:47~yah, I got the Simpson’s reference.

    0:32:00~yes do a spoiler warning of “Ryse: son of rome” or at least Shamus should do a written review.

    0:35:30~!?! a Rutskarn has appeared from the grass

    0:44:44~your warning me about a spoiler from almost 20 year old game who do you guy think you are spoiler warning me. :3

    0:48:18~a rutskarn attacks with Phantasmagoria!

    0:52:01~the pee game are you talking about postal?
    0:52:31~yah, me and rutskarn have the same logic processes.

    0:58:20~”love … postal 2″ my out of context Campster quote :3
    1:05:37~wow rutskarn was only 14 nine years ago, that is so a year older than me. :3

    1:07:58 ugh Shamus please if your not going back to Kevin at least pick one of your other songs.

    anyway keep up the good work.

  40. Cuthalion says:

    This music is growing on me. It has stopped feeling weird compared to the old song. Have you used this one a few times in a row now?

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