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Diecast #127: Human Resource Machine, Life is Strange, SWTOR

By Shamus
on Monday Nov 2, 2015
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Hosts: Josh, Shamus, Rachel. Episode edited by Rachel.

Saturday is our day to record the show. It was also Halloween this year. Everyone mysteriously went to fun Halloween parties instead of doing an internet podcast with an old man and hang on that’s actually not mysterious at all.

But we have a guest and we talk about games, so it still counts.

Show notes:
00:01:38 Human Resource Machine

HRM is a game about coding, which I bought for my non-coding daughter. This is what she thought of it.

00:16:55 Life is Strange

Total Spoilers. I assume. I actually skipped this segment.

00:35:30 Star Wars: The Old Republic: The MMO: The New Content

Why is Josh playing this MMO again? He answers the question, yet by the end you’ll probably find yourself thinking, “No, REALLY. Why is Josh playing this again?.”

Comments (134)

  1. Phill says:

    Oooh – new host on the show. Welcome Rachel.

    And without having even got five minutes in to the show yet, I feel completely comfortable saying “Seriously, why was Josh even thinking about playing SW:TOR again? That’s not going to end well.”

  2. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Its always funny to hear you talk about the low end stuff working in the far opposite end which is Javascript, usually with JQuery on top of that (because who has time to remember how different browsers handle selectors). That alphabetize problem? Yeah thats .sort(), possibly preceded by a series of .push() commands to load the array (if the function I’m using doesn’t load the array for me).

    When I think about what I’d have to do to work on an HTML page using lower level language, it makes me want to crawl under something and stay there. And as you might gather from my name, its hard for me to find spaces like that.

    Being perfectly honest I was a little worried about not so much having Rachel on the show as having someone new and younger on and I think it worked fine. Truth is by now I’ve read enough here about the Young family that it was neat to hear two of them interact. Sounds like you’re getting to that fun phase where you can interact more as peers. Maybe working together on the show started that a bit early.

  3. Da Mage says:

    I for one agree with Shamus. Daylight savings are stupid and I don’t know why everyone uses it. Thankfully here in Queensland, Australia we don’t do Daylight savings…cause we ain’t called the sunshine state for nothing.

    • Phill says:

      I though you were called the banana benders, rather than the sunshine state…?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yup,daylight savings is idiotic.If you want to have more sun in the summer,fine,tune your clocks so that you have more hours wake in the sun,AND THEN KEEP IT THERE.What the heck is the point of turning it back in the winter?You have the work day bordered by dark hours no matter how you tweak your clocks,so whats the point?

      • Wide And Nerdyâ„¢ says:

        That may be true where you live but here (North Florida) depending on when you go to work, you can see sunlight in the morning and evening. Our shortest day is 10:10 (contrast New York City where the shortest day is 9:15).

        Still, flex is a thing.

    • Wait, does Florida know that you stole their nickname? Can we have a cage match to decide which has the right to said nickname? ;)

      Yeah, I loathe the time change. My body clock’s accurate enough that I can tell myself to wake up at say 8 am and it’ll work, so any alteration of time throws me for a real loop and I end up with migraines for a few days while I recalibrate.

    • Supahewok says:

      Historically, Daylight Savings was instituted during the World Wars to save energy for the war effort. By moving forward an hour in the summer, you could use the natural light for that extra hour, rather than burning electricity on artificial lighting. In the US, individual states continued to use it to save on electricity through the 60’s, but they all changed the clocks at different points, causing havoc to interstate travel. So Congress passed a bill in ’76 to set a universal DST.

      There’s no current consensus on whether DST still saves on a significant amount of energy. A Department of Transportation study in ’75 said that it saved up to 1% per year, and 10,000 barrels of oil per day. Other folks dispute that.

      Personally, I’m in favor of it. I appreciated having more light in the mornings when I biked to school before moving to college. Makes travel at 7 in the morning safer. Eventually, of course, the sun doesn’t rise until after that, but it gives a few more weeks to it.

      Of course, folks who work from home aren’t going to notice any benefit from it. They don’t regularly go outside early in the morning or late in the evening, or commute to work. It’s a warped perspective.

      Hell, if you go digging, even ancient civilizations practiced it. Lots of evidence that folks would change their calendar days in accordance with the Sun. The Romans had different scales for their water clocks for different months of the year.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Personally, I'm in favor of it. I appreciated having more light in the mornings when I biked to school before moving to college. Makes travel at 7 in the morning safer. Eventually, of course, the sun doesn't rise until after that, but it gives a few more weeks to it.

        So why push it back at all then?Why not pick the shortest day of the year,say that the sun rises at 6 oclock on that day,and keep that setting throughout the whole year?If your goal is to have more hours that are considered to be sunny,there you go,sunny dawns in winter,sunny dawns in the summer.No need to flip flop all the time.

        And before someone says “that would cause a mess internationally”,there already is an international mess because of the daylight savings time.

        • Supahewok says:

          Because it’s impossible? Different latitudes have different patterns for sunlight. For instance, this year on June 1st, Anchorage, Alaska was projected to have 18 hrs 44 min of sunlight, whereas Birmingham, Alabama, was projected to have 14 hr 14 min of sunlight. Yet on December 1st, Anchorage is projected to have 6 hrs 6 min of sunlight, while Birmingham will have 10 hrs 6 min. So not only are the amounts of sunlight each location get are different, they don’t even hold to the same pattern.

          So yes, it would “cause a mess internationally.” And on an order of magnitude far greater than being late to work for one day. You can’t have an international time scale based off of sunlight.

          • Peter H. Coffin says:

            And, it gets (slightly) worse, because the earliest sunrise, the longest day, and the latest sunset don’t even happen in the same month. Sunrise peaks first, then two weeks later we get to the solstice (longest day), then two weeks after that is Sunset peak, and solar noon (essentially, the middle of daylight) wanders around too.

            The entire “save energy” thing kind of gotten eaten up when air conditioning and fluorescent got pervasive in homes. (Basically, people going home stopped being lower energy than people being out working/shopping.)

      • Hermocrates says:

        Personally, I'm in favor of it. I appreciated having more light in the mornings when I biked to school before moving to college.

        Doesn’t DST take away morning daylight in favour of evening daylight? I have to leave home at 6 am, which during DST is the quivalent of 5 am standard time. So under DST, the sun rises an hour after I leave on the autumnal equinox, whereas without it the sun would rise at the same time that I leave.

      • ehlijen says:

        I’m told WW1 Germany first instituted it due to fuel shortages to reduce electricity needs.

        But I like to think it’s a prank the supposedly humourless germans have played on the world and no one has caught on yet…
        (Just keep deadgepanning, everyvun!)

      • djw says:

        I’d much rather have light in the afternoon/evening when I am done with work. Today we had absolutely beautiful weather, but the sun went down at 5:30. Fortunately, I have a job with a great deal of flexibility, so I quit at 2:00 and went mountain biking (I had to make it up this evening, but it was worth it).

        I also very much do not look forward to losing a precious hour of sleep when we ‘spring’ forward again. (I am a chronic insomniac so losing that hour really grinds my gears, very hard to adjust my sleeping patterns in that direction).

      • SlothfulCobra says:

        You could also make a good argument for society adhering to something similar to daylight savings time way before it even started. Back before train schedules forced the country to adhere to time zones, every town used to set its own clock according to the sun relative to their particular area, so naturally the time would change with the seasons.

        Personally, I like daylight savings time, because my sleep schedule always seems to be slipping right before the time change, and then the change fixes things.

    • Hermocrates says:

      As someone who has to get up at 5 am to commute to school every morning, DST pisses me right off. Sure, I know that come December it’ll be dark out regardless by the time I leave the house, but with DST lasting until November, that’s a whole extra month of dark mornings I have to trudge through even though I’m leaving after the nominal sunrise.

      • Mike S. says:

        DST takes away from morning people to give to evening people. And it’s fundamentally a zero-sum game.

        But the entire rest of the world is made for morning people. I’ll take the extra daylight as the one sop the rest of us get.

        If it were just me, I’d shove us a time zone or two further east permanently– mornings are terrible anyway, and making them dark doesn’t make them appreciably worse. Conversely, summer evenings lasting till arbitrarily late would be awesome, and I dream of the sun not going down before 5 in the winter.

        But– as I know from my own youth in the 70s energy crisis (when DST was extended to 10 months), kids going to school in the dark doesn’t play well on the evening news. So it’ll always be a compromise.

        (And these days, part of the compromise is the biennial flurry of complaints in my social media channels. :-) )

        • Shamus says:

          I should have put this in the post. Or the show. Or in my Twitter rant. But here it is:

          Everyone focuses on how much daylight we get, and when it happens. I’m actually okay with all of that. You want the sunlight in the morning? Fine? Evening? Fine. Whatever. Just pick something. JUST STOP CHANGING THE GORRAM CLOCKS.

          My frustration isn’t with when the sun goes up and down, but with the idea that every city, state, province, and country feels the need to move their particular clocks at a different time (and don’t even get me started on the people who shift by half-hours) and the result is madness. In a world where we all interact globally, having us shift in time relative to one another is chaos.

          • Wide And Nerdyâ„¢ says:

            That works for some of us. You who can set your hours and I, who can ask my boss for occasional changes to my flex schedule (often enough for this sort of thing). But one of the above examples was a guy biking to school. He couldn’t make this change. Schools don’t change their schedules nor would it really be feasible (would cause lots of confusion). And most parents are locked to the school schedules.

            And thats just one example. There are jobs based around coverage that can’t be flexible either. Mandating it is the only way these people get DST if they want it.

            I know you have logical reasons for wanting what you want but, out of curiosity, is this spurred at all by your programming experience? And the fact that the DST date has changed since you began your career?

            • Shamus says:

              The problem isn’t just that we change the clocks, but that WE CANGE THE DAY ON WHICH WE CHANGE THE CLOCKS. “Oh. Colorado just decided that this year they’re going to do the clock-switch a week later than the usual time.”

              It just makes an already problematic situation that much worse. Once you’ve got a meeting between three parties from three countries AND three different time zones, the odds of misunderstandings and wasted time go up sharply.

              I spent a lot of time working with international clients in the 90’s and aughts. Also, the programming aspect of it makes me crazy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5wpm-gesOY Every time some ninny waved their magic wand, it’s a mad scramble to update a bunch of stuff. That’s fine. Sometimes stuff needs to be updated. But what possible value is derived from moving the clocks a month sooner that warrants all this confusion?

              And then there are the figures that show that things like heart attacks, strokes, and car accidents go up when we move the clocks.

              It’s going to be a compromise no matter what we do, but out of all the possible solutions, this one seems to be the most maximally damaging.

              People complain about “kids going to school in the dark”, but that always happened to me anyway so I never saw the point. One solution is to simply make DST permanent. We don’t have to pick standard time. Whatever.

              • krellen says:

                You know what’s annoying? I work with a team of people mostly in Arizona. I live in New Mexico. Arizona is one of the US states that completely eschews daylight savings – so for the past eight months, there’s been a time difference between me and them.

                Finally, this week, we are once again on the same schedule. My life would be a lot simpler if we just stayed here all the time.

              • Retsam says:

                I think the subforums need to be “Religion”, “Politics”, and “Daylight Savings Time”.

              • djw says:

                I’d like to see ONE clock for the entire world, and then let local people decide based on local conditions what time they do stuff. That way when you agree to “meet somebody at 9:00 pm” there is no ambiguity in what that means.

                Also, while we are on the topic, I really hate making a new schedule for my class every year. I’d like to see us move to a calander like this one where each date is always on the same day. Couple that to a universal clock with no time change and life would be much simpler.

                • Lanthanide says:

                  It seems like a nice idea, but you’d actually end up having to do even *more* annoying lookups to coordinate events.

                  Say you live in the UK, and so hence use GMT. 12pm noon worldwide is when you eat your lunch. 7am worldwide is when you get out of bed in the morning. 10pm worldwide is when you go to sleep at night.

                  Now you have to book a conference call with some people in Australia. You book it for 1pm, Australian time, which is 1pm GMT -> 1 hour after lunch for you.

                  Are people in Australia going to be awake to attend your meeting? All you know is that it’s 1pm Australian time. When do Australians wake up? We know they can’t wake up at 7am, because that’s when you wake up, and they’re on the other side of the world.

                  Turns out, Australians go to bed at 10am GMT, and wake up at 7pm GMT. So the meeting you just booked for 1pm Australian time is in the middle of their night.

                  No, it’s much simpler to say “I want to book a conference at 1pm GMT. I will refer to my standard timezone calculation and see that 1pm GMT means 12 midnight Australian time, and because I know the people I want to book the conference call with aren’t vampires, this would be an inappropriate time for me to book a meeting”.

                  In short: Maths is easy. Learning when everyone around the world is likely to be ‘awake’ is much harder.

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    In the digital age,you dont have to learn when anyone will be up.You want to schedule a meeting for your companies branches all around the world?Easy,send an email to all of them saying “What time would it be ok for you to have a conference call?”.The most beautiful part:You would already be doing that even under th current system because all your branches already are doing different stuff at different times,and you wouldnt want to schedule a conference call when some of them are having meetings of their own,or inspection,or vacations,or whatever.

              • Wide And Nerdyâ„¢ says:

                Now I have a new YouTube channel to watch. Thank you :)

                And that was a funny video. I know its true but its still funny.

          • Mike S. says:

            The clock changing is a result of the tug-of-war between support for more evening daylight (economically justified based on energy use, among other things) and concern about morning darkness in the winter. Hence the tendency to switch to the former during the part of the year when the latter is deemed less of a concern– though the boundary shifts according to politics. (“Longer DST saves energy!” “Shorter DST saves children!” Etc.)

            The Wikipedia article gives an interesting list of the economic interests arrayed on each side. A charcoal manufacturer helped fund the campaign for lengthening the DST period in the 80s, for example, for reasons that are probably obvious.

            Getting rid of clock shifting would require consensus on one or the other being preferable throughout the year. I think that would be tough to achieve.

            (At least in a democracy. China can just put the entire country on Beijing time and tell everyone west of there to go hang. Which effectively puts most of China on permanent DST.)

            The trend certainly seems to be the other way in the US. E.g., Indiana gave up being a maverick and finally acquiesced to DST in 2006. One of the reasons given was that not being on DST was too confusing for people who did business with out of staters. (Though it’s apparently also called the energy savings into question, with one study showing increased energy usage after the change.)

  4. Radio Silence says:

    re: Command blocks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyNcUgUtlkk

    re: Star Wars: TOR, I’m hesitant to rant about this too much because it’s something that kind of mightily offends me as a thing with the understanding I have of it, but no, it really is as flat out basic an EQ template game as you can get.

    The /original/ EQ had more going on than TOR does, in terms of gameplay. Unless you count that TOR also lets you play Starfox, but I don’t because I am spiteful of them, and space missions/starships don’t actually add anything of merit to core gameplay.

    Fun story: one time, for kicks, I decided to try an experiment in TOR. Shamus, I think, had remarked previously about the game happening mostly/entirely in the HUD, so I tried to play it with just the HUD elements.

    It’s awkward, but do-able, since hostile mobs appear on your minimap, which is generally enough to give you a sense of placement and orientation. I went through a fairly good chunk of the Sith Inquisitor introduction like that.

    Concur that TOR as an MMO was a profound mistake. There are a bunch of other multiplayer models that would have served their purposes much more cleanly, assuming that they actually had non-pathological purposes to serve.

    EA wanted a new Star Wars MMO and they saddled their best single player developer with the task of making it as much like WoW as they could with as little of that dangerous innovation stuff as possible.

    I will grant that there’s one saving grace of their shithouse F2P system: you CAN make progress on unlocks through in-game credits…players can buy things off the cash shop and retail them for credits to free/premium players (as far as I know, everything is eligible for this transaction).

    It’s not hugely efficient with their escrow system (free players can only have so much liquid wealth on hand unless they waste money/credits on escrow withdrawal tickets, so you either spend real money to get access to your fake money or you spend credits to get credits as a sort of ‘poor tax’ to paying customers, often amounting to spending your credits twice or so), but…I wouldn’t call it quite the /worst/ F2P system I’ve seen (it is, admittedly, a very tough call for me between this and some of the crap places like Perfect World get up to), but it’s definitely down there and as a microcosm of the game manages to feel exactly the same as TOR itself as far as ‘EA screwing up everything because they don’t understand how to service’.

    • Phill says:

      I suspect that EA weren't really trying to create a “˜full' F2P option, but rather it works more as a free trial. Everything about it seems to be trying to get you to subscribe, rather than continue to play non-subscription and pay via micrtransactions. Any non-subscription stuff you pay for before deciding to subscribe is just bonus income for them.

      The main problem continues to be that the subscribed game just isn't all that great. They were aiming for a WoW clone reskinned as Star Wars, but with bioware companion mechanics. And they failed at that. For all that everyone loves to complain about WoW, the reason it did so well was that it was very well designed and put together. A lot of the small touches that WoW got right, SW:TOR got wrong. Taken in isolation, they may not seem terribly important, but in aggregate it is the difference between a game that people subscribed to for five years solidly vs a game that people quit after a few months.

      So basically the F2P is deliberately annoying to get you to subscribe, but the game simply isn't good enough for many people to want to subscribe to (which is why they had to think about the F2P option in the first place). They have cunningly created a F2P system that plays right into the weaknesses of the game, rather than its strengths.

      • Radio Silence says:

        Pretty much bingo, though why WoW succeeded/what WoW actually did right versus anything else on the market is an entirely different hellstorm of rants I don’t think I have the energy for today.

        Part of the problem with TOR going F2P is the fact that they planned around ‘subs forever’ when they built it, and wound up faltering when it came time to part things out and made a lot of very common mistakes…many of which were informed by the idea that they’d rather have subs than freeps, others of which were informed by a sort of half understanding of the relationship between free players and paying players. All I’m saying is, despite that pathology, they did a couple of things ‘right’, or at least in a fashion more morally consonant than reprehensible.

        Whether that was on purpose or not is anyone’s guess.

  5. One thing about SWTOR that I don’t quite like is this: first expansion is around 9€ and you get it. Ok. Second expansion is around 18€, you get both if you didn’t get the first. So, if you wait to buy the nth expansion you’ve paid once for everyone, but if you go buying them as they come, then for each of the n expansions you pay Σx=n-1→0 N-X times. I’d think it’d be more fair you have buy stand alone expansion X for its 9€ or buy expansion X including all the previous for 9xn€. Though I guess that could pose an issue for those who skip one of them and maybe that’s why it’s done that way? Even so it would be “Each expansion is 9€, to play later expansions you’ll have to/is strongly recommended to buy all the previous”, and this feels a cheap trick to reap extra money to me. Or maybe it’s usual way to do things in MMOs (I’ve only played SWTOR)?

    • krellen says:

      The latest expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire, is “bought” by subscribing for a month. I don’t know whether you retain access to the parts of the expansion you’ve “paid for” when your subscription ends.

      • Oh, I didn’t know that, I thought it was close to be released. Thanks for the info.

        • Zombie says:

          You get access to everything, plus every expansion they previously put out (Rise of the Hutt Cartel and Shadows of Revan) when you subscribe. However, they’re releasing a new chapter every month, so you can stay subscribed for the next 6 months (I think its 6, they’re doing something like 15 chapters, and they released up to chapter 9 as the base expansion) or subscribe once at the end of everything and get everything.

          I’m also pretty sure you get to play around in all the KotFE stuff if you stop subscribing after you already have it, you just can’t continue with any newly released story chapter.

  6. Ledel says:

    On Life is Strange, it sounds a lot like the story of the anime Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica only from a different character’s perspective. It touches on a lot of the same themes as the game, but handles it in a different (possibly better) way. I will admit that it is a slow burn to get started, but about 4 episodes in it changes from being a kid’s show and starts getting dark.

    • Fizban says:

      That is not a comparison I would have expected, those I suppose I can see where it’s coming from. Although you say it sounds like, does that mean you’ve not played/youtubed through Life is Strange? Spoilers for both follow.
      It might sound like a good comparison on paper, but there’s a significant difference in the time traveling. In Madoka, time traveler Homura jumps back to the same point over and over again, reliving the entire timeline every time. In LiS, the time traveler Max just rewinds a bit until they get this part right, or later changes a thing in the past and then skips to the results without reliving/replaying it. This basically makes all the difference: Homura went through multiple hells (years worth) offscreen only to have the person she wanted to save end up saving her. Max went through about a week’s worth of hell only to have the person she had successfully saved get ultimatumed by time travel mechanics into undoing it.
      Basically the time travel mechanics are completely different, making what the characters went through different, and resulting in a far different message. Considering the endings of LiS vs the ending of Madoka, I much prefer the latter.
      Madoka basically wins by breaking the system even as Homura’s plan fails, about as close to a happy end as you could ask for, while to me LiS basically just said that people die and you should eat it instead of fighting, at least with the “good end.” I’d have let the town be destroyed on general principle. Push the limits, find out what they are, break them if you can. The ability to turn back time and change the past is the ultimate expression of the desire of humanity to overcome all obstacles, caving in without really learning anything over one small town is weak, and the assumption that everyone in town dies no exceptions is absurd.
      Of course it doesn’t help that LiS is a game so the bad decisions you can’t avoid are highlighted even more, while Madoka is an anime with characters that don’t go flip flopping whenever the player wants to re-do a scene. For all it’s “dark” reputation, Madoka is actually a show full of hope while I love, while LiS is about failure which makes me sad. I could rant about this all day so I should stop now.

      • Otters34 says:

        Wait…THAT is what Life is Strange develops into? Well now, that’s actually interesting!

        Can’t really agree on the “absurd” bit. It’s significantly more absurd that saving the world and getting everything you want because you totally tried hard and deserve it is the standard, and almost nobody complains. Sometimes you do just have to accept things you don’t like, sometimes there really is nothing you can do. Of course a video game, built around the idea that the player will try super-hard to find even the sliver of a chance of getting the best possible result, muddles that message frightfully. Not to mention how that doesn’t square with certain other events in the game.

        Still, different. Different is always valuable.

        • Fizban says:

          Oh I was riding the edge of my seat for most of LiS, it was good to watch (if I’d started earlier I probably would have bought it but when I started there were 3/5 episodes to binge so I just watched after that). And I fully admit that the anime way isn’t realistic, but I usually don’t want my entertainment realistic, I want it idealistic.

      • Ledel says:

        I haven’t played LiS, and I’ve only watched a playthrough of the first episode or two. Telltale games are interesting, and I’m glad to have them. In the future I think we will call games telltale-like in a similar fashion we use the term rouge-like.

        Unfortunately these games aren’t really my style so I don’t think I am going to play through LiS.

        I was mainly going off of what Josh and Rachel spoke of this week.

        And while Madoka does have hope, that mainly comes at the end after you’ve worked your way through all of the darkness of the story.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          And if you dont watch the third movie.Because hope doesnt live there anymore.

          • Fizban says:

            I have never seen a more perfect definition of someone “selling out.”

          • Nydus says:

            Authors vision/privilege and all that aside, it was a complete tangent off the earlier themes and characterizations. It was jarring trying to reconcile character motivations for the actions up to the point – guess the producer wanted to shove nihilism in the faces of everybody!

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              I disagree.It feels like a continuation of the previous events.The incubators would most definitely be curious about why the world operate the way it does,and if they found out that there is potential for more energy,they would do everything they can in order to get it.Plus,its not nihilism when what homura did actually changed the whole universe.Again.

              • Fizban says:

                It’s a perfectly decent continuation of events. Preceded by an hours worth of fan pandering filler, with a final act that basically turned the main character’s character upside down. It’s possible to justify, but you have to justify it because it doesn’t line up. Then you go read interview responses where the creator straight up admits the original ending was going to be basically what fans expected, until someone said “hey, leave it open for more sequels!” and so he sold out and we got that. And now we wait to see if they’ll actually cash in and make a real ending that undoes the damage, or if the joke’s on us.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  She wasnt turned upside down.Even in the original 12 episodes,she gave up in the end.Here,when she gave up however,she didnt give in to despair,but to her lust.And she didnt really cause that much damage,since she split madoka in 2,one half to continue policing the universe,the other half to be her sex slave in the bubble of her own making.And really,can you blame her for wanting something for herself after everything she sacrificed?

                  • Fizban says:

                    I’d say she didn’t give up-she was close, maybe about to, but she hadn’t actually failed yet. The rest of your interpretation I would say is up for interpretation. You say lust, but that wasn’t present in the original series even if it makes for nice fannon. If the whole thing had been developed properly over say, 4 ova episodes, then I might be willing to buy in, but instead it comes out of nowhere. The end-end is a pile of vagueness that can be spun into anything, you say a mostly-harmless split has occurred while I’d think it looks more like the entire universe is being held hostage (and you know M wouldn’t let that stand).

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Lust was definitely present in the original,albeit much more subdued.Though maybe obsession(as used in the movie)is a more apt description.

                      The movie was the same length as 4 episodes,maybe even longer.

                      And in the end,madoka literally says “Youll rip me apart!”,before she actually gets ripped in two,the human madoka,and the godess madoka.Then the barrier appears between the two,encasing homura and human madoka inside,with godess madoka staying outside.Then the galaxy gets encased in the barrier,and that one can be interpreted in both ways(although in all those shots where darkness covers everything,we dont see godess madoka).However,what clarifies things(in a muddy way)is that once we go back to mitakihara,we see inside only those people we saw in the first false mitakihara,the one encased inside homuras gem(mostly the dead ones).

                    • Fizban says:

                      Ack! Thread too long! You make a compelling case about order of operations, I just wanted to re-emphasize that even if the movie is 4 episodes long, it doesn’t use any of that time developing the motivations used in the ending, with at most 1 episode’s worth on the actual segment in question.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Nope,life is strange is nothing like madoka.I mean,you could very well say that its like the groundhog day,or the looper,simply because it has time travel.

      Life is strange is like the butterfly effect,and it explicitly hammers in that point numerous times.Only butterfly effect had a better,more sensible ending.

      • Ledel says:

        I’m ok with the LiS and Butterfly Effect comparison. Madoka was just the first thing that came to mind with the story of going back in time repeatedly for the sole purpose of saving someone, and constantly failing.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Yeah,life is strange doesnt understand what constantly means.I mean,max gives up on saving chloes father after just one attempt.And she tries to save chloe a total of maybe 5 times.Ive spent more attempts than that on data mining some of the non central conversations.

    • Thomas says:

      I was having similar thoughts myself, but I don’t think it works because 1)It’s not so optimistic as MM in the end and 2) For me at least the low stakes happiness of the first couple of chapters is what I really loved.

      It is amazing how similar the main arc between the two series is, just Madoka isn’t the main character and we witness the story from the perspective of Madokas hidden main character

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait,Rachel had to teach herself to code?While having an actual programmer for a father?For Shame!

  8. AileTheAlien says:

    I think there’s room for Human Resource machine to have an expansion pack. Even without adding new types of problems, they could expand on existing ones. They could just use the same branches on the elevator, but re-work the “normal hard problems” and “extra hard problems” division they currently have. I think they could have a single line going straight through with only a single puzzle of each type. Then have side branches, where you get harder versions of the problems, or just different variations for fun. :)

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I think human resource machine is user unfriendly by design.Which has its perks,but it has a lot of negatives.

    If you want a friendlier puzzler that also teaches you stuff,definitely go for spacechem.It also has way more levels.

  10. Grudgeal says:

    ‘Hip, young person’? You’re not fooling anyone, Shamus, we all know your audience are all at least 30. Or 25.

    Apart from Rutskarn.

    Point is, we want more crusty old men (and women) to talk about how much better things used to be and ask the kids to get off their digi-lawns.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ill just paste my thoughts about life is strange episode 5 for the forums:

    I liked most of the episode.Especially the hipster guy with the family,that one was funny.

    Both times in the dark room,and the intermediate trip to frisco were nice,I liked those.And you get some nice alternate phone messages as a bonus.

    I didnt let david kill jefferson.Its jefferson who needs to suffer,not david for killing him.So I lied.

    And everything up until warrens conversation was nice,building up to the grand finale.But then…”Im not a scientist”,you sure arent warren.Or you wouldve known that correlation=/=causation.What if it was the reverse,and it was the tornado that caused maxes powers?Or if the two were simply coincidentally happening simultaneously?Or if you farted that one time and that caused both the tornado and maxs rewind powers?I guess you read the script and know for sure.

    Though the hug/kiss/nothing decision was ok.I picked hug,because I didnt care for warren before,so why string him up now.After all,I was changing the timeline once more.

    Then came the padding insanity,which was meh at first,quickly dipped into lame,and ended up being just a boring literal memory lane.The only saving grace was “max that you left behind”.If they built up more on that that wouldve been great.But nope,just one line.

    Oh look,both chloe and max read the script in advance just like warren.And then the bullshit decision that doesnt even give a proper resolution.You two arent even going to check if anyone survived?Maybe there are injured that you two can help?No?Well ok then,fuck you two I guess.

    Though there is one positive thing I can say about the ending:They didnt go the cheap route and make max lesbian/bi.I respect that.

  12. AR+ says:

    Fun/Horrifying Fact: Roller Coaster Tycoon was written in Assembler.


  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I prefer Josh talking about plumbing for an hour over Josh talking about the old republic for an hour.

  14. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Does this mean no Spoiler Warning this week?

    • Phill says:

      Or, does it mean spoiler warning with Shamus, Josh and Rachel this week? Is Rachel going to have to fill in for Chris (ludonarrative dissonance FTW), Rustkarn (puns! The best cheese to hide a horse? Mascarpone) and Mumbles (toot toot toot John Cena!). Should be easy.

  15. Halceon says:

    On the topic of Life is Strange. I don’t think the final choice is meant for the characters. I mean, the whole thing falls flat as a choice made by Max. But it works as a question posed to the player: do your choices matter to you more than doing the right thing? If you save the bay, you’re saying that the choices you made, the people you touched, the people you already saved from the storm, all your impact on the world throughout the game is less important than the in-world morally right choice of saving the greater number of people.

    • Thomas says:

      I feel like it’s a canonical correct choice. To me it feels like the alternative exists just so that you understand that Max _is_ having to choose. The guys at rockpapershotgun have the same kind of idea.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Except thats a false dichotomy because:

      Nothing says max cannot use her power to save as many people as possible one by one,even going as far as sacrificing herself in the process.
      Nothing says that all,or any,of those people will die in the tornado.I mean people have been dealing with tornadoes for a looong long time,and while casualties were sometimes high,they were never 100%.Especially in modern times.
      Nothing says that max is the cause of the tornado and not vice versa(or if something else caused both,or if they are completely unrelated),and that killing chloe would prevent the tornado.Its just a stupid assumption made by the not scientist warren(who should totally get an f in logic).

      But no,you must choose between one person or all of those people because of reasons.

      • Aldowyn says:

        I think it’s a safe assumption that Max IS causing the freaky weather, regardless of the fact that the game doesn’t actually explain it at all beyond “CHAOS THEORY BUTTERFLY EFFECT”.

        I do agree that letting Chloe die is the ‘canonical’ choice.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Why is that a safe assumption?How is it any more valid than the assumption that the freak tornado is what caused maxs powers?Or that it was aliens(because its always aliens)?After all,we see the tornado first,and only then do we see time rewinding.

      • Timelady says:

        Yeah because, as was drilled into my head in school, correlation does not imply causation. The idea that Max’s power and all the freaky things happening throughout town all being side effects of some unknown third event seems perfectly likely to me.

        Besides–what reason do we have to believe that going back and not saving Chloe is going to fix anything? The whales didn’t suddenly come back to life after Max altered Chloe’s timeline back in episode three. We have the testimony of three people, here: undergrad science student Warren who knows what the term butterfly effect means even though he didn’t know about Max’s powers more than five seconds before saying it, Nightmare Max, who earlier on was saying how much she wanted to go back to the Dark Room–why should we trust you now? And freaked-out Chloe…and Max herself, both of whom seem ready to jump to the conclusion that it is their respective faults–and therefore under their control and able to be fixed. It feels, to me, like a very…young view of the world, and one that doesn’t necessarily line up with just how complicated and out-of-one’s-control these sorts of things can be.

        Fixed, by…doing what? We have the theory here that continually going back and changing time is what’s causing this disaster. So we fix it by…going back in time to stop ourselves from going back in time and changing things? That seems like a reeeeally shady road to start going down. Not to mention that saving Chloe is only one of the choices Max makes. (Well, several. Danger-prone Daphne is really not good at the self-preservation thing. Which…okay, if acting recklessly and almost dying several times over means that you’re destined to die, I know a fair number of people who are living way past their expiration date.)

        So…you let Chloe die. Which, at this point, isn’t even chronologically the first change you’ve made; the first being to tear up the photograph in your room. But what if the change that causes the tornado is speaking up about Jefferson? Or talking Kate down from the roof? Or any number of things you can’t enumerate? What happens if you choose to save Arcadia Bay, let Chloe die, live out your life up to the point you went back from and the tornado still happens? Do you keep going back and changing things until you find the one toggle switch of time that will stop it? And how bad do you risk hurting reality with all of that? During her last few rewinds, Max said she felt like reality was starting to unravel. What happens if, in the process of trying to save this one locality she ends up sending tornadoes like this all across the world, or even unwinding reality itself and killing everyone else?

        With all that running through my head, the Right Thing seemed to me at the time to be to draw a line in the sand, stop playing around in time, and accept the consequences. However awful. And, in the process, save Chloe.

        • Fizban says:

          Or better yet, try some proper investigation. Every time Max reverses a picture dive she tears up the picture, because. . . why? Because as a game we’re forced to stick with the character’s bad decisions. Go back, let Chloe die, fade forward into the future and see what happens, and don’t tear up the photo you idiot. If it fixes everything then you have some actual evidence that might have been the cause, and if more time-nados appear you know that Chloe alone was not the cause and have the option to picture dive again and re-rescue her. You have freaking time-travel powers, the one power literally dedicated to changing your mind later, why would you ever wall off an option? Even if you don’t intend to use it you don’t throw it away, unless you at minimum give a big speech about how keeping it around might lead to temptation and you don’t trust yourself to resist meddling again when you’re sad.

  16. kanodin says:

    As someone with no coding history I had pretty much the same experience as Rachel. I really enjoyed the early puzzles, reminded me of my Logic classes in college which were always my favorite, but then I started getting to the zero terminated strings and didn’t want to go look things up to play a game and lost all interest.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well logic is the foundation for all the programing.

      The main problem with the game is the interface.I think youd have it easier if you were to write all of the solutions on paper,in any format you want,putting separate things on separate pages,etc.

      • Bryan says:

        I’m not sure about that, but I wonder how HRM would be different if you could call your previous solutions as a subroutine. It’d be really hard to put a stack into the setup, so maybe it just becomes magic (acting like a new single instruction or something, where you pass some set of tiles off to the other program as its inbox, and put its outbox somewhere…), or maybe that’s how far they got into the idea and then dropped it.

        (Note also that their clipboard format is plain-text; they actually dump it as an assembly language. There’s some kind of seemingly-vector representation of labels and comments as well, that go at the end of the program. It might be hard to do that if the user has to draw everything… unless I’m misunderstanding what you’re suggesting.)

        I’m also confused every time I hear people talk about that string-sorting level as hard. It wasn’t too hard for me; I just gnored the start-of-the-program that they gave me (which copies the string out of the inbox, setting me up to do some kind of in-place sort), and did an insertion sort instead. Easier to think about in assembly anyway, because you don’t actually have to “swap”; you can just copy elements down the row to free up a slot. (Move to the end, copy that element to the next slot, then back up and repeat until you get back to the current index. Then copy the most-recently-inboxed item from the temp slot to wherever you’re looking.)

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Its not the level itself that is hard.You have a bunch of sorting algorithms to choose from.Its the implementation that gets pretty messy.Even the simple insert sort still takes a few “pages” in order to write out,which can easily make you mess up.

  17. 6b64 says:

    It was great to have Rachel on the Show!

  18. RCN says:

    In Brazil we’re at strange terms with Halloween. On one hand, it is very close to our “Day of the Dead” holiday (November second, not to be confused with the Mexican “Dia de los Muertos”, it is a very different holiday here as it is a day for introspection and not for parties), so it feels redundant to adopt it and there’s a movement against doing so on the grounds that it hurts our own cultural identity and folklore. Also, we already have a holiday to give free candy to kids (“Day of Saint Cosme and Damien”), though it doesn’t involve costumes. Finally, there’s the Carnival for a holiday where you get to wear costumes.

    On another hand, there is a strong movement to adopt it just because it sounds like such a fun tradition and we already like excuses to wear costumes. Plus, it’d join the strengths of three of our holidays.

    Either way, Halloween still isn’t an actual holiday here, but it is celebrated here and there, mostly privately, without breaking the flow too much.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      it is a very different holiday here as it is a day for introspection and not for parties

      But is there a better catalyst for introspection than a massive hangover?

      • RCN says:

        Interestingly, we never called it “Halloween”. We’ve always called it “Dia das Bruxas”, or “Day of the Witches”. Though I’m not sure why, that’s just how it is always translated from American works.

        Hmmm… I think I just found a nice subject to study the etymology of.

  19. Muspel says:

    There should be a podcast where Shamus’s kids just tell embarrasing stories about him. You can call it the Shamecast.

  20. Tsi says:

    That idea in Life is Strange that the two main characters are the same person from two time periods reminds me of the movie Predestination. Have any of you seen it ? It’s pretty good.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Ehhh,not really.I mean it has good acting and filmography,but its a pretty cliche and predictable time travel story that hinges too much on its single twist.

  21. Zombie says:

    On SWTOR:

    Yeah, the Jedi Story-line is your bog-standard “You’re the Hero! Go do Hero things!” kinda story. It gets pretty boring.

    Personally, I like the Bounty Hunter, Sith Warrior and Imperial Agent Story-lines the most. They’re more fun/interesting. For example the Bounty Hunter goes from participating in The Great Hunt (which is go around and kill a bunch of important and high-ranking people) to being the best Bounty Hunter in the Galaxy, to then having to go and kill the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic and his Jedi adviser because they framed you for committing some really terrible crimes and killed some of your friends and you want payback and your name cleared.

    On WoW vs. SWToR, well, I like SWToR better. Right now, WoW has some interesting stuff, but I just don’t care anymore. The story is boring and makes no sense, some of the most important characters are killed off in the stupidest ways possible, without the player doing anything, and some of the most important plot points are locked away behind the highest tiers of raiding, so only hardcore raiders, who probably don’t actually care that much about the story, get to see things like the big-bad of the expansion get killed, or the overall story of the expansion get resolved. I want to go back to Wraith of the Lich King, where all it took was getting a couple people together to go do a normal raid and kill the Lich King.

    I at least get to see how the story plays out in SWToR, mainly because its my characters story. Sometimes the story is kinda dumb, but at least I know what happens without having to google around why one dude is important in the next expansion.

    Mechanically, WoW and SWToR are basically the same. But what MMO isn’t WoW with X feature these days?

    I would say if SWToR was KotOR 3 you wouldn’t have the ability to pick what you wanted to be. Like, SWToR lets you be a Jedi, a Republic Soldier, a Smuggler, a Sith, an Imperial Intelligence Agent or a Bounty Hunter. KotOR 3 probably would have just been “You’re a Jedi, that can be a Dark Jedi if you want to kick puppies!”

    And lets be fair here, WoW circa 2010 would probably be much better then WoW right now.

    • Mike S. says:

      I haven’t played it, but my wife loved the Jedi Consular storyline: going around and doing good for people, with a focus on healing and diplomacy, is the sort of thing that we’ve always been told the Jedi are about but hardly ever actually see them doing.

      And I think with six class stories, having one be a standard hero’s journey from naive young student to confronting the Emperor himself, with lots of lightsaber duels, a wise older mentor, etc. was absolutely the right choice. And the Jedi Knight is the place to do that. Clever twists and variations are fine things, but surely an expansive Star Wars game should include the basic Star Wars story.

      That said, my own favorite story was my Imperial Agent, and my favorite character was my Smuggler (who tends to get the best lines).

      The Smuggler’s story is kind of all over the place– Act 1 at least makes some sense, but for Act 2 they really shouldn’t have it revolve around MASSIVE TREASURE when you’re not actually going to get MASSIVE TREASURE. (At the very least, do a Maltese Falcon ending to explain why the riches of the galaxy aren’t reflected in your credit total.) And in Act 3 I discovered that the game assumed that the Republic was supposed to be more important to you than profit (and not in a reluctant “I’m not in this for your revolution”/show up at the very end with guns blazing sort of way), which conflicted with my headcanon.

      I’ve resubbed for a bit to try out the new content. Shadow of Revan is… okay. (I really don’t like what SWTOR did with Revan. The whole point of setting it centuries in the future should have been to leave Revan’s actions and fate as vague as possible.)

      But what I’ve seen over my wife’s shoulder of Knights of the Fallen Empire looks more interesting. There’s certainly a much higher dialogue to MMO combat ratio, and since I like Bioware dialogue and merely tolerate SWTOR’s combat at best, that looks promising.

      • krellen says:

        The Consular story turned suddenly epic in Chapter 3 and I was pleasantly surprised. It is also a more standard “Jedi” story, exploring the side of Jedi we’re told exist but never actually have seen before. It’s a perfectly good story.

        My personal favourite is the Sith Inquisitor, which is sort of an evil empire version of the hero’s journey. I’ve enjoyed it enough to play through it three times.

        • Mike S. says:

          I’ve got a Sith Inquisitor who’s been sitting on Dromund Kaas at 12th level for the last year or so. Now that I’m resubscribed and the leveling has been streamlined to allow focus on the story, maybe I should finally let her out of the cantina.

          • Zombie says:

            The Inquisitor story is pretty fun. It starts out as a “Go find me things, apprentice” type story and then becomes a grudge match between you and a Dark Council member. Warriors pretty good to, The first Act is all about finding a Jedi Padawan and converting her to the dark side, then going and killing a bunch of republic generals, and finally destroying your master for betraying you.

            • lurkey says:

              Inquisitor also has very entertaining voice acting. The dude sounds permanently sarcastic, the lady delightfully insane, and both ham it up just perfectly. Voice acting is mostly great overall, although whoever gave Male Consular acting directions of “Imagine you’re the most boring person in the Galaxy. Now imagine you’re on Valium” should probably re-evaluate their choice of career.

      • djw says:

        I liked the Sith stories better than the republic stories, pretty much across the board. I even played light side through the bounty hunter and imperial agent stories and still thought they were pretty decent.

        Also, you get to force choke/electrocute people in conversations during sith warrior/inquisitor storylines, what more could you want?

    • ehlijen says:

      The bounty hunter story was terrible!

      The great hunt competition doesn’t work, mathematically:
      Each candidate gets two targets. Each target has two candidates going after it. To advance *you* must get the target and kill your competition for that target.
      -> someone will end up never encountering their competition because someone else already killed them! -> to advance you must simply be lucky enough to meet them to even get a shot (obviously you’re a PC and scripted to have that luck, but what about everyone who doesn’t?)

      anyway, the crime you end up being framed for? You actually did that!

      You’re sent after a jedi master. You decide to blow up his cruiser rather than face him (terrorist crime, even if bounty hunters are somehow legitimate, due to dead bystanders). In the attempt to do that, the master confronts you and you end up killing him. The mission then *still* requires you to blow up the ship, even their you already got the target.

      All that clearing your name stuff is just nonsense. Maybe your character is lying to save face? But the player is never let in on that, if that’s the case.

      The story had its funny moments, but it was just not a very convincing dressing up of the fact that you travel from dungeon to dungeon to collect boss heads.

      • Aldowyn says:

        Yeah, but bounty hunter is WAY more fun than trooper and gets a lot of fun one-liners, so, yay bounty hunter :P

      • Protocol95 says:

        Just to clarify, they framed the Bounty Hunter for stuff other than assassination and blowing up a vessel.
        Here’s how I see it. That first thing is supposed to be: “Wow that guy is a badass, let’s hire him!”. Then they frame your for long list of crimes that makes even the empire pretty much go “We keep this hunter on our payroll other parties we need ain’t gonna like that.”. So you’re out of a job and hated at best.
        Sorry if I wasn’t helpful or civil enough there.

        Edit: If memory serves the contract requires the destruction and death of the Jedi master. Pardon me if my memory has failed here.

        • ehlijen says:

          No, the first framing is for that ship’s destruction, I’m pretty sure. When you then defend yourself and kill the jedi who lured you into a trap to ‘arrest’ you, you get framed for murdering her.

          Legality and due process have nothing to do with anything there, and the game pretending they did only made me groan.

          You want me to have enemies and have to kill them? Yup, cool, that’s why I’m playing an evil shooty guy. Why are you trying to dress this is up as some sort of betrayal that still somehow leaves the jedi not admitting to any underhandedness that fails to make sense? Just don’t bother and give me more ridiculous droids to shoot instead. If I’ve played through the inspiration-free great hunt dungeon chain I’m unlikely to ask for complex storytelling this late into the character…

    • lurkey says:

      “Imperial Agent story” is my favourite Bioware game ever and for that alone I can forgive the “watch them hotbars” gameplay and MMO grind (never played any MMO before, so no grind fatigue probably helps).

      Jedi Knight’s story was so blatant and shameless about fellating player’s ego I was actually cringing with second hand embarrassment whenever I wasn’t eyerolling.

      The rest varies from meh to good, but I liked all of them enough to run a few repeats (and more than a few with an Agent).

      Also, if your sub expires, you’re preferred player, which is way better than plain free-to-play, especially if you click on someone’s referral or buy some useful utilities (equipping purples, third craft, helmet toggle) for in-game money while still subbing.

      Also 2, new expansion made your companions so overpowered that you can basically leave all combat to them and leveling became less grindy, so it’s pretty good time to play for the story. :-) I only wish I could import those companions into Secret World, which has better story and way more awful combat.

  22. James says:

    On the Subject of the Eve-Online NPE,

    Fuck me does this games new player experience suck all the balls, its “better” then it was but its still bad, there are future works coming in to offer the chance for new players to essentially buy skill points with isk (ingame money).

    Eve as a game is purely PvP really, the PvE content that exists is remarkably grindey and dull even at the top end of the curve. and the PvP isnt limited to blowing eachother up, because the market is fully (well 99%) player controlled thats also PvP, as is manufactoring ect ect ect.

    Additionally the game is all about its social elements, i think CCP themselves have said that “most” ( i think it was 80%-90%) of solo players quit after a mounth or two.

    EDIT: To Clarify ive played this game for like 8 years on and off.

  23. Lord_Bryon says:

    SWTOR is far from perfect and I will a agree that its ftp model is deeply flawed however it is probably my favorite mmo if not game, both for story and visuals, and because its star wars. I’m always a little sad how SWTOR is always bashed when its brought up. Each to their own I guess …

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      I do feel the need to defend the game here. I have played free to play since the beginning. That authorization Josh talked about? Players that subscribe get free coins to buy stuff with every month. They often buy these authorizations and then put them up on the in game market for credits, and not at the exorbitant prices you might expect. I have four characters across two servers and with all of them I got the purple item authorization as well as almost all other authorizations I wanted by around level 20. And that is with just using the money I got while questing as normal and selling loot I didn’t need.

      • Mike S. says:

        I don’t know if it’s still true or if I’m just grandfathered in. But even while unsubscribed, I get 100 Cartel Coins each month for having a security key on my account. Mine’s a hardware key, which they don’t offer anymore, but I believe the same applies to having a phone app to generate codes.

        Googling around, it looks like you may need to be a subscriber when you activate the key, but it continues after the subscription is suspended. Still, subscribing for a month for that (plus preferred status), then using the monthly coins plus in-game money to buy unlocks, might be a viable option.

  24. I would just like to point out that as of this comment’s time-stamp, neither anyone on the Diecast itself or anyone commenting on it has correctly referred to the change in our clocks over the weekend by its proper title: Daylight saving time.

    There is no “s” on the end of “saving.”

    Now carry on while I do my superiority dance…

  25. Akri says:

    Shamus: “I don’t want to play episodic games because nobody will care about them anymore by the time I’m ready to talk about them.”

    *Runs off to work on part 8136204573071235 of his Mass Effect dissertation*

  26. Bubble181 says:

    As for SWTOR…I’m a huuuuuge Kotor (1 and 2) fan, and I still haven’t played it. I know, everybody says you can “almost entirely” play it solo, and you can play it for free, and whatever, but the fact remains that you can’t trust it to be so. I’d gladly pay €50 for an off line version of the 6 main story lines and a bunch of side quests. I don’t have the luxury anymore to play 10+ hours a week, and I don’t want to spend €15 or whatever a month for 10 hours of play a month – the price-per-hour is just off.

    I may the 10.000th to say/ask this, but I don’t know, having played neither game – aren’t the stories of LiS and Bioshock Infinite somewhat related? considering in one, the Big Bad turns out to be “you'” from another dimension, while in the other your companion turns out to be “you’ from a different timeline or are the differences bigger than they appear to be, to me?

    • Josh says:

      No no no, I was saying it would’ve been interesting if they’d gone that down that route; that it was what I was expecting from the game. In reality, Rachael isn’t Max, she’s just some girl that Chloe and Frank were both romantically involved with who was killed a year before the game starts. The game seems to be foreshadowing some big connection between Max and Rachael, but it never coalesces; aside from a deer “spirit animal” that is probably Rachael who appears to Max a few times throughout the episodes. Rachael doesn’t even physically appear in the game; at least, not alive. I felt it was a missed opportunity that, given all the possible ways they could have gone with those plot elements, they went with “she was killed by some random totally human serial killer and his accomplice.”

  27. Steve C says:

    If Human Resource Machine interests people, this weeks’ Humble Bundle has Hack and Slash on. It’s a programming game.


  28. Aldowyn says:

    The problem with SWTOR is that it’s a fairly good implementation of a terrible idea (a bioware story-focused WoW clone) with an awful F2P model stapled on top.

    I’ve still played it a fair amount, and don’t hate it, but man, why couldn’t they have just made KotOR 3? (4/5/6..) Even more so because the new expansion focuses on the single player experience and the companions and all that.

  29. Endymion says:

    After hearing the discussion on Human Resource Manager, it makes me wonder if you’ve taken a look at TIS-100. Its a recent game from the makers of Spacechem that also does the whole programming puzzle game thing. It doesn’t go for a cutesy visual though, opting instead for a 70s commandline retro style. As for the resources of what you can do, there are numerous nodes that each run their own code and can move stuff to adjacent nodes. Also each node has 2 registers, only one that can be accessed easily, a dozen lines of code in each node. There are a dozen commands and half of those are variants of jumps. It is ‘short’, in that it only has 20 levels, but it does a somewhat decent job of introducing new concepts along the way but quickly ramping up to difficult puzzles using those concepts.

    I had fun with it in the ‘code with a hand behind your back’ sort of fashion. There was a bit of a fun drive to solve puzzles with fewer lines of code or faster execution times than my friends did. But mostly it made me reminisce about the old games I played back when I was just a young teenage geek playing ‘learn to program’ games. Although back then those games were more obscure and were even more of a competition; I remember fiddling with targetfinding code for a fighting robot and then emailing a server to find out if my code could do well enough in the arena to stick around as a champion. It really caught my interest at the time, but I haven’t seen anything similar pop up since.

    One final random thought on learning, programming, and games: Is the turtle still around? Like are kids introduced to that little guy still? That little monochrome (as in green on black) turtle dragging his tail to draw little images is a fond memory for a lot of programmers, and it’d be sad if hes completely gone.

  30. Rayen says:

    A week and a half late I’ll throw in my two cents on Life is Strange. I love this game, I love this game so much. All 5 episodes. Especially 4 and 5. I feel like playing this as a video game and trying to “win” is wrong. I didn’t talk to mr. Jefferson much because he seemed a minor character to me and I paid him no heed. So I was completely thrown when he turned into the bad guy. I don’t get to play as many games as some so I took the emotional gut punches at the beginning and end of 4 and the big one at the end of 5 full force and didn’t think were obvious. I mean yeah I knew chlorine was probably going to have to die, but I also Harry Potter was going to kill voldemort at the end so shut up. I sacrificed chloe and then bawled through the ending and the credits. I don’t know if I’d call Lisa a great game because you can’t “win” but it is a great story. So I completely disagree and am disappointed by the hate piled on it in this episode.

  31. Zak McKracken says:

    So, I finally managed to listen to the Diecast — I’m a little behind schedule.

    Programming: For anyone interested in learning some light programming that might even be useful:

    I’ve been told that there’s a Python interface for Minecraft. Came across a howto for it on the Raspberry Pi. Haven’t ever touched Minecraft myself, and no idea if that exists on other platforms, too, but it seemed like a cool way to learn programming for people who like Minecraft.

    (Also: Python, people, Python!!!)

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