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Diecast #91: Mailbag

By Shamus
on Monday Feb 2, 2015
Filed under:


Another mailbag episode. I think we only covered about a third of the questions we had waiting for us. Note that I’ve wiped the board clean, so if your question wasn’t answered, then it’s now gone for good. Sorry.

On an optimistic note, having a 1:3 chance that your question makes it onto the show is actually really good odds by the standards of this sort of thing.

Direct link to this episode.

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

Hosts: Shamus, Josh, Chris, and Rutskarn.

Show notes:

3:00 First Impressions.

Dear Diecast

As a popular saying goes about first impressions mattering the most, I’d like to hear your guys’ thoughts on coming back to a game after trying it out after disliking it at first.

I recently finished a playthrough of The Witcher a couple years after I first tried it and found that it didn’t mesh with my loot hoarding playstyle at the time. I ended up enjoying it much more than I thought I would after breaking my packrat habits and leaving behind any “incinerators” (love to Josh!).

Any personal thoughts or experiences on “second impressions”?

Love you guys,

Steven from the Midwest

25:00 LvlupExpo.

Hello all,

I was just re-listening to Diecast 81 about PAX when I heard Josh bemoaning a lack of video game conventions in his native Las Vegas. My folks moved near Vegas, and while I was making plans to visit them, I discovered that there is the LvlupExpo in May, which appears to be a gaming convention being held at the end of May. Would Josh known if this expo is worth a detour to the city? Or if this is the first time it is being hosted, would Josh have any recommendations for visiting that part of Las Vegas? It is being held at the Cashman Center.

Thank you for your time,

29:00 Livestreaming a tabletop game.

Dear Rutskarn,

A few Diecasts ago you said that the best way to get you to GM a
session was just to hang around you for a few months until you were
setting up a new group. The rest of the cast seemed disappointed that
you hadn’t done anything with them.

Is there any way you could do something livestreamed playing some kind
of RPG with the crew? It would be fun to watch.

*Goes back to lurking*


35:00 The Changing field of PC Games.

Dear Diecast crew, the Spoiler oracles

It looks like the US interest on PC games are waning every year, as they focus more and more on consoles. Meanwhile European (mostly German) and Russian developers not only are creating some great PC titles, both AAA and indies, it actually seems like it is the strongest gaming market over there.

Considering Valve is barely a game developer anymore, do you think that Europe and Russia are going to overtake the PC market in the coming years?

– Your Brazilian fan, RCN

38:00 Graphic limitations as art style.

Dear Diecast,

With another potential graphic generation upon us, what do you think of how previous graphic limitations seem to have become full fledged art styles like 8 and 16 bit inspired, the occasional FMV, etc. Do you think early 2.5d and 3d graphics will get a similar treatment?

In that vein, do you have games of that era with art you feel holds up today? The N64 Zelda game’s are abstract enough to feel the same to me, for instance.

Thanks for the thoughts.


58:00 Hair in character creators.

Dear Diecast, seers of the Spoiler

Nowadays games have pretty advanced character creators. The results might usually be minimum, but we have sliders for everything from nose bridges length to lip thickness.

Hair, however, seems to still aways be a simple choice between several models. If you’re lucky, you can at least pick a variety of colors, but usually you’re limited to things like “mullet”, “ponytail”, “shaved” and “mohawk”. Why can’t hair have the same sliders as a face? Why can’t I have sliders for the length of my character’s hair, or at least the length of their ponytail? Or how shiny or opaque it is? Or how messy or tidy?

I guess this question is mostly directed at Shamus, but it still drives me mad sometimes. And what’s up with Oblivion and facial hair anyway?

– Your Brazilian fan, RCN

And then the show ends on a Witcher rant. For no reason.

Comments (86)

  1. Wide And Nerdy says:

    I think what they did with the Darkspawn comes from decades of Dungeons and Dragons softening various monster races to the point where Orcs are barbaric still but very definitely regarded as people with the same unfortunate implications afforded to wiping them out en masse as any other race.

    Bioware wanted Tolkien style orcs but, ironically thanks to DnD had to create a new breed of monster to get back to that old idea. (And yes, I know even Tolkien had problems with his version of Orcs).

    Its the same with (*glurgh*) vampires. If I was ever going to do anything with them at this point, I would create a humanoid leech abomination so that people would stop trying to humanize it.

    • Tohron says:

      And the funny thing is, they then made Awakening, which proceeded to try and humanize the Darkspawn.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:


      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        You know? Its like its inevitable. We create these monsters because our modern sentiments have displaced entire classes of stories, then we humanize the monsters which makes them useless for those stories.

        And people can say “well I think that makes them more interesting and complex.” Which would be true if this were 50 years ago and we didn’t have a glut of humanized monsters. It always starts with the misunderstood outcast then next thing you know you’re playing baseball with vampires and eating muffins with werewolves.*

        *Before you start, I’m into Rifftrax, not Twilight. Its just that those were some of their best riffs.

        • Bloodsquirrel says:

          The problem with humanizing things to make them more “interesting and complex” is that we already have humans, and the more you humanize monsters and other races the more they become interchangeable. Humanized orcs, as a race, might be more interesting and complex than non-humanized orcs, but non-humanized orcs bring something to the setting that doesn’t exist at all with humanized orcs, while the humanized orcs are just redundant among the other 20 races.

          • Otters34 says:

            That’s always bothered me, how the only way non-humans are considered complex or sympathetic is if they’re like us. Even Tolkien got into that a little, with his “orcs as working-class soldier guys” on the few times we get a glimpse of their society and culture. Their slavish, fanatical adherence to their masters, whom they universally fear and loathe and envy, is pretty much the only real difference between them and, say, the more independent Men of Harad.

            We saw it especially in Mass Effect, where only the bipedal, more familiarly-shaped species got much shrift, and they had their more alien side slowly chipped away to make them easier to write and romance. Your party in seemingly every game is made up of the outliers of each race that just so happen to be the most like People as we know it. They even did it with the Electronic Defence Intelligence and [Legion], when in both cases neither are really anything like humans or even think like them except in the most superficial way. That made it simpler to enjoy, but it also cost us those precious rough edges that science-fiction can create, where differences of belief and nature clash not because one is wrong, but because two are not the same.

            I just don’t get it. Why not make things more interesting by making non-humans LESS like us? Wouldn’t that make the themes of getting past differences and finding common ground that much more engaging? That much more real? The European nations and the Khanates had a number of similarities(mounted nobility as military officers, monotheistic, religion as centralized authority, feudal structure), but they were divided by far more than mere language barriers.

            • Jeff says:

              “Why not make things more interesting by making non-humans LESS like us?”

              Frankly, it’s because it’s hard and writers aren’t necessarily very good.

              For example, the Borg when introduced were very alien. The Borg by the end were just people.

        • The other problem is that there are very few (if any) believable wholesale monsters. I agree completely that vampires have gone completely off into Twilight-land and aren’t truly “monsters” anymore. “The Strain” tried to make them monsters again, but the writing stank, so no dice there.

          I think the problem is that a lot of people have difficulty suspending disbelief that something is evil “just because.” In a story, if a villain is rampaging through the countryside and is meant to be defeated by the hero, making them evil just for the sake of needing someone to be evil seems lazy, so a backstory is concocted. That’s where things become the whole “misunderstood person” concept you mentioned, and you might even gain sympathy for them, which (I’m assuming) undercuts the ability to wholesale murder them just for funsies.

          It’s motivation, pretty much. If you can relate to their motivation, then they’re not quite the monsters we want. If you can’t, then they don’t seem all that believable, unless you come up with a new crutch (i.e. Stephen King’s “From a Buick 8” had the monsters attack humans and vice-versa because we appear nightmarish to each other in such a way that we & they feel compelled to kill).

    • Joe Informatico says:

      But literary monsters weren’t originally created to be just things the protagonists can kill. Myths and legends weren’t the idle pasttimes of pre-industrial people, and if they just wanted to tell war stories, they usually had some real examples within living memory. Myths and legends served a didactic, religious, or political function. Monsters are metaphors for social, political, or religious challenges faced by the people who told or wrote those stories. Or an explanation for things a society not as scientifically-advanced can’t explain. They represent the fear of an invading army, or foreign influence, or heresy, or industrialization, or social movements that, depending on your perspective, threaten either progress or traditional values.

      When later writers writing for a more leisurely class adopt them, they can’t help but imbue them with their own cultural values. So maybe the vampire myth transforms from a Central European folk explanation for rigor mortis, to a metaphor for those dirty immigrants buying up our old landmarks and preying on our women, or those parasitic aristocrats preying on everyone else. And then later they become evil predatory bankers, or celebrations of Bacchanalian New Age liberation from conventional social and religious structures. And then maybe they get adopted into the same consolatory crap used to inculcate women into “their place” for centuries.

      But this is beside the point. Why are there still elves and dwarves and orcs in fantasy games (both video and tabletop) at all when fantasy novels pretty much all stopped using them two decades ago? Fantasy novelists don’t seem to have problems inventing fantastic human cultures and putting them in opposition, while still allowing for magic use and fantastic creatures. And games do it too–look at the myriad human cultures in Dragon Age and Elder Scrolls. I spent a lot more time in DAI fighting other humans than darkspawn. So why are there still non-human races? Is it a concern about marketability? Is a game not a game if there aren’t 27 different character options, which Elder Scrolls also addresses by granting different human cultures different mechanical bonuses?

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        I would think differing mechanical bonuses by culture is more problematic than differing mechanical bonus by race (where race is understood to mean species).

        I think the stock fantasy world kind of represents a place that a lot of us want to be or inhabit for an extended period. Its equal parts exciting and pastoral and mysterious in ways real life isn’t. I think that appeal limits the archetypes available to an extent when you consider that you’re building a world space within a game engine for people to interact with. You can replace elves with Zoras and Dwarves with Goroms (sp? Zelda) (and some people do) but people are still going to make the comparison. If you want to make a truly new species, you need a new archetype and a fundamentally new role for them. Or you make a knock off of an existing one with a few differences and let it grow through iteration possibly filling some new cultural niche.

        The other part of it is, any time you want to say “look, we’ve done stock Tolkien” or point and click or top down shooters, well we haven’t done them with 3D rendering yet have we? Or 3rd Gen 3D rendering? Or with all the new lighting effects? Or with the point and click mechanics replaced with rpg elements and a dialog wheel? Or, now, in VR? We haven’t really brought this world/game to life the way it deserves because it was created on that older generation of video game technology. I’d hate to see Mario wasted on the Nintendo, lets make a new one for the Wii. That’s what we run into. With books, there’s not really any new book technology that’s going to make me want to read the same story over again (Well ok, I have repurchased some books for my Kindle but that’s what? One fundamental improvement in book technology in ages?)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Theres nothing wrong with humanizing your monsters(when you do it right).After all,some humans are outright evil,and most people could not think up their monsters doing stuff that actual real life monsters did in real life.

      BUT,people often think that humanizing means making them more likable,or not as evil,or some such nonesense.And no,that is most definitely not the case.Rich Burlew did the best humanization of his monsters by making them utterly despisable.Start of darkness should be compulsory reading for anyone who wants to make up their own villain.Because it shows you exactly how they become so evil,while still making them entirely despicable.

    • Mathias says:

      Interestingly enough, Tolkien himself was never happy with his portrayal of the orcs as Always Chaotic Evil. He just needed them to be that way for his story.

      Goes a long way towards showing how these things can be a result of needing the story to go a certain way.

  2. The Rocketeer says:

    As far as second impressions go:

    Of course, I’m always on the lookout for horror games. Back a few years ago, I seemed to run into a lot of lists of “GRATEST HORRER GAEMS,” and Fatal Frame- specifically, Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly- seemed to be on every one of them.

    Long story short, I gave Fatal Frame II a try, and absolutely hated it. Everything about the game seemed wrong to me, I was never frightened, and getting near to the end, was just very bored and trying to put it behind me.

    I still have no idea exactly what triggered this, but right as I was working through the end game- literally going through the final area to the bosses of the game- I suddenly realize that, “Holy shit! This game, it’s brilliant and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted!” A switch just got flipped from “Off” to “On.” I have no explanation.

    After finished it, I immediately started playing through the game again, and immediately started having the experience I had been promised so many times. The boring, seen-one-seen-em-all ghosts became these damned, tragic creatures, everything I found ponderous became dread-inducing, the combat that I had hated and struggled with became this incredibly tense ballet of evasion, anticipation, and striking right when you’re most in danger… Everything about the world clicked for me.

    I became a die-hard Fatal Frame fan just in time for the series to fade away from my own shores. I’ve played the three classic titles many times each (even the first one with its BASS-ACKWARDS CONTROLS), and I love different things about each of them. The third one, in particular, seems like a game that I appreciate a lot more in hindsight along with Ace Combat 6; a lot of it seemed rehashed at the time, but then the series crashed, and now seems like more of a “greatest hits” of itself. And the game also managed to end on an awesome and satisfying twist on the usual.

    So I try to keep Fatal Frame II in mind if I ever feel like I’m not giving a game a fair shake out of the gate, because I came within an inch of throwing away one of my favorite games ever.

    • Retsam says:

      You just have a thing for series with the acronym FF, don’t you?

      • The Rocketeer says:

        I was always pissed that Fighting Force never got more sequels.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Id rather have more freedom force myself.

          • Felblood says:

            I really like Freedom force on an ideological level, but in practice it never worked for me.

            I love a lot of the broad strokes on display here, but when I actually get in game the controls are clunky, the multi-player is half-assed, and the jokes are mediocre and slightly racist. (I get that they are trying to mock racist tropes and cheezy plots of yesteryear, but a poorly constructed parody of poor writing, can be indistinguishable from the real thing.)

            When the best part of your RPG game is the visual novel you include, you have problem. “Blue Radioactivity” was the best joke in the game.

  3. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Regarding Ocarina of Time. You said you’d played a little but your kids had played a lot. If its the 3DS version, I just got that and its actually a bump or two up graphically from the Nintendo 64 version from what I can tell (especially things like Link’s hair.)

    My first two 3D graphic games were the Zelda and Mario for 64 and its a tribute to the power of well designed characters that I didn’t even notice the 3D polygon limitations back then. It felt like they were being designed that way on purpose, not because the dev teams were pulling their hair out trying to make it all fit the limited resources. And they ended up looking better than games that come later. Heck, I can handle the graphics of Link to the Past better than Baldur’s Gate.

    EDIT: And then Campster goes and mentions it. Thats what I get for posting multiple comments before I’ve even finished the podcast.

  4. Paul Spooner says:

    I’d like to weigh in on the other side of the “low poly” debate. For someone used to working in the style, low poly modeling is significantly faster than “middle of the road” modeling. This is double true for models that are un-textured.

    I adore the abstract geometry that is generated or implied by untextured (single color) low poly models. One way to get this aesthetic is through a mod-pack. If you have a modern game with modern animations which allows modding, it could be a pretty easy project for someone to create a low-poly retro mod.

    • Jakale says:

      I was pretty happy that disagreement was mere sentences after the question was read.

      Since you’re working with this stuff, one thing that occured while they were discussing was what the software for creating this stuff was like?
      I imagine some of the cheap and quick spite creation benefits comes partly from newer software making it easier (RPG Maker comes to mind, though that may be a bad example).
      Do you know if there programs out there that might make it easier to mix older polygon looks with newer polygon tricks, like how they talked about what the Sword & Sworcery people did with pixel art? Or just make some of the issues with 3d easier to correct.

      • Paul Spooner says:

        Well, one of the great things about pixel art is that there’s a hard and fast resolution limit (and often a color depth limit as well, if you’re going for a real 8-bit look). The restriction gives creative people a way to justify taking risks and shortcuts they would otherwise avoid, as well as offering a challenge to the skill of abstraction and symbol creation. The rigid grid and limited range (as long as the scale the palate are chosen carefully) ensures that everything fits, so you get a consistent art style much more easily.

        Low-poly 3D models are much less clearly defined. There is no rigid grid, no color depth limitation, and no large body of quality work to draw inspiration from. There are really good examples, but also really poor ones. The skill of low-poly modeling still challenges artists to inventively abstract and convince the audience with the minimum possible resources, but the comparative lack of rigid structure produces a corresponding difficulty in maintaining a consistent art style.

        Consistency of presentation is a paramount aspect of quality in visual media. It isn’t so much that low-poly modeling is harder to do than pixel art. It is that pixel art is a much more rigidly constrained style, and therefore harder to mess up.

        The other thing is that half (if not more) of the quality of “low-poly” models is actually in the textures. The poly-count can be insanely low and, with well made textures, the model will still look convincing. But textures add another method of failure as well, making the low-poly style that much harder to get right. For great examples of moderately low-poly modeling done really well, look no further than World of Warcraft.

        Pixel art is basically texturing without the model. Low-poly modeling adds the third dimension, with all the hassles that entails. Ultimately, though, if your game doesn’t require three dimensions, it’s much easier to stick with two (or even one, in the case of most card games).

        • Jakale says:

          True, I keep alternately forgetting and remembering textures, which is weird since it’s the main visual “ugliness” that I think people focus on when this stuff comes up, though there are the cases like the blocky bodies of FF VII. To take from the episode, Thief’s faces vs Ocarina of Time’s. I suspect that’s where the main abstraction being easier to hold up through the years comes from, at least a bit.

    • ET says:

      In addition to being much faster to model, low-poly stuff usually looks better to me, if it’s using other modern trickery besides just upping the numbers on everything. For example, back in the day, we’d have character models with hundreds of polygons, which look a jillion times worse than something with less than a hundred polygons, but high-definition lighting, shadows, bump-mapping, toon-shading, etc. e.g. Compare this shot of UT2004 to this shot of wind-waker. Higher numbers generally only produces a modest increase in fidelity, but different types of numbers usually looks much better*. :)

      * Plus, low-number games generally spend their budget on an actual artistic style instead of just throwing more stuff at the problem.

      • Paul Spooner says:

        Yes! Consistent style goes a lot farther than gobs of polygons. I’d be happy if there were more single color, low-poly geometry games. Or, at least an option to switch to a “bounding box” mode so I could see what I’m actually playing with, instead of what the visual director wanted me to look at.

      • Felblood says:


        If you need proof, just look at the difference between Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy IX.

        8 throws so many polygons and high res textures at it’s problems, that they had to half the resolution, to stop the polys from crushing the poor little PS1’s hardware. As a result it looks far worse than either of the other FF games on the PS1, especially alongside it’s insanely high-fidelity, hyper realistic cut-scenes.

        9 benefits from some new technologies in shading and smoothing, but the main reason that it looks better is a matter of good art direction. The characters in the cut-scenes are designed so that when you see them in engine, the contrast doesn’t jar the mind. Rather than push for more realism, they called back to the style of character designs Square used in the 16-bit era FF games, but lovingly recreated it in (then) current-gen 3D graphics. It was a bold move, and it didn’t work for everyone at the time, but it has a charm that holds up so much better than it’s two siblings.

  5. Ilseroth says:

    Normally I wait until the end of the cast to post but Rutskarn you need to put down whatever extremely important task you are doing and play through Jade Empire.

    That game is a roughly cut jewel. the story and setting are lovely… though ti does suffer from a bunch of the biowarisms (Awkward good v evil choices, awkward combat, odd sex scenes)

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      So for me Jade Empire was a game I didn’t like until I tried it again.

      I saw the twist coming from the very beginning, and when I realized that the imperial city was the last hub area I was really disappointed and stopped playing.

      This partially stems from expectations from kotor. There were so many worlds you could land on with different civilizations and people to meet. Sure the imperial city in jade empire had way more to it than any one world in kotor, but it was still just one place. There were more places to go after that, but only ones with people living in them were the starting area, the fishing village and the big city,( no the inn doesnt count, that was a haunted house stroy from the beggining) it just felt so small coming off of kotor .

      I had the same problem with the first Mass Effect when I realized that other than the citadel you could only land a few worlds, and of those only two had people living there, and of those one was a corporation and the other was crazy people. once again it all seemed so small compared to the all the vibrant cultures you could meet in kotor.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      A piece of advice for getting Jade Empire though – I’d recommend getting the Good Old Games copy instead of the Steam copy – the Steam copy is…more than a little annoying to get working if it doesn’t work the first time – and even then it was updated to stop working on my machine, AFAIK.

      IIRC, the major benefit the Steam version still has is controller support, though.

  6. Eric says:

    As a fellow Las Vegan, hearing Josh talking about our city was a lot of fun for me.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    This is why they did the thing with females in witcher.

  8. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Game Developers take note. If you show Shamus your chest in the opening Act, he won’t take you seriously.

    On a more serious note, regarding Josh’s comment about Inquisition and female outfits, yes they generally did that well but in a couple of places overcorrected. There are a lot of people on the forums, men and women who complain that, for example, your female Inquisitor doesn’t at least have the option to wear a dress to the Winter Palace ball like every other female in attendance (aside from the women in your entourage). You’d think at least the human female Inquisitor (who has a noble upbringing) would be considering it.

    And I don’t know anyone who likes that unisex “earth tones people, browns and beige and mother of pearl” Inquisitor uniform you’re forced to wear while you’re hanging out at Skyhold (I’d much rather wear my crafted gear).

    • IFS says:

      I might be wrong but I think I remember hearing somewhere that they considered a choice of outfit for the ball but it was cut due to time. I’m not sure if they did the same about the outfit you’re stuck with in Skyhold but god damn I would buy DLC to have the option to change out of those stupid pajamas.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        They could have at least enabled the gear option. I know because due to some glitches in the unpatched version, I’d occasionally find myself at Skyhold or Haven in my gear and then go out into the field and suddenly be in my Inquisitor outfit (which I could change out of). There was nothing stopping them there. All the cutscenes are done with the engine.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      You could chalk that up to needing to be ready for action, except the few times you actually have combat in the Winter Palace, you have to change back into your armour and gear anyway.

      You can customize all these details about Skyhold, down to the bed in your quarters that serves no real purpose, but they couldn’t detail a couple of alternate outfits for your Inquisitor? The Templars, Seekers, and Grey Wardens get custom armour, the Chantry have those silly hats, some of the Venatori get those pointy helmets, and the Orlesians get masks. But the head of this new, powerful organization trying to make a mark on the world dresses like a stableboy.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      For the record, I wanted to type the following line in the preceding post but I was at work at the time (on break but still).

      “Game Developers take note. If you show Shamus your tits in the opening Act, he won't take you seriously.”

    • Thomas says:

      I really wish they’d let you wear your armour round Skyhold. A lot of the time it didn’t even really make sense to me that the Inquisitor would appear to her soldiers in such unimpressive clothes. Like when you’re sitting on your throne and judging people… in pajamas.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        Well, I’m sure they didn’t see them as unimpressive. I can see how somebody might have thought this looked good. Its just that in practice its silly. I thought it looked especially bad on my already wiry male elf Inquisitor. At least his gear normally gave him some illusion of having a chest. The PJs not so much.

    • Mathias says:

      The outfits in Inquisition are some of my favorites in any fantasy RPG. It isn’t just that most of it isn’t boob plate, it’s that your soldiers are wearing armor you’d realistically expect from Late Medieval soldiers. These guys aren’t traipsing around in full plate armor swinging giant swords, they’re very modestly equipped with breastplates and what’s clearly padded jacks/gambesons, and it adds a lot more flavor to the game.

  9. Bloodsquirrel says:

    On Bioware’s settings:

    Jade Empire was mostly just China. Refreshing for being done less, but not really brilliant in and of itself.

    Dragon Age is generic fantasy. It’s specifically generic fantasy by people who think they’re subverting generic fantasy, but are just doing what everyone else who is “subverting” standard fantasy is doing. It’s “dark” (Read: dirty and unpleasant). There’s tons of fantasy racism. There just isn’t anything tying the setting together or giving it a recognizable voice.

    With DA:O and ME they occasionally made things interesting the in details -ME had some actually interesting politics in their Space Opera, and the Dwarves’ caste system were – but the settings are spare of any interesting big ideas. Starting with ME2 they jettisoned what was working in ME.

    • Robyrt says:

      The most refreshing thing about Dragon Age’s mostly generic fantasy is the presence of actual religion that has effects on people’s lives, and isn’t either a completely transparent charade for a corrupt mastermind or a Gothic reskin of Greek mythology. Considering the actual Middle Ages were completely suffused with religion on both Christian and Muslim sides, this really helps sell the setting as believable.

    • Joe Informatico says:

      I mostly agree (DAO is mostly Lord of the Rings with a light dusting of Game of Thrones), but the magic lore is at least a different take than what we usually get from generic D&D-esque fantasy. Usually, magic is presented as a fairly neutral, ecumenical tool. There might be some flavour text about the metaphysics, but basically it boils down to both the good guys and bad guys can throw fireballs and heal their comrades.

      With Dragon Age, magic isn’t just metaphysics, it’s theology. Magic is basically Original Sin, which leads into evil things like blood magic and summoning demons, and the Chantry tries to reign it in. And since half the mages you meet in these games do end up being evil assholes, you can see why the Chantry and Templars have a practical role in Thedosian society as well as a spiritual one.

      Of course, we get everyone’s old friend ludonarrative dissonance when you can have your mage specialize in Blood Magic and almost never get called out on it.

  10. Dragomok says:

    Regarding Witcher books and Triss’ neckline (spoilers no bigger than the ones in the Diecast):

    I’ve read the books twice, and always interpreted that the reason she refuses to wear low necklines is trauma-related. I don’t have the book on hand right now, but I read that implication the the attack did not leave a scar, but burnt her breasts off entirely (which she later regrew via magic, because mages restoring missing body parts is well established in the Witcher universe).

    • James says:

      Umm perhaps or at least it was a serious wound, as she was counted amongst the “hundred on the hill” (around 100 Sorcerers and Sorceress’s died on that hill fighting Nilfguard)

      And then it seams to be completely ignored.

      also the line about using sex to show that two characters are intimate and you’d want to chase or defend her was about Yennefer and really pissed me off. because Yennefer is FAR FAR too important a character plot wise and to Geralt for that sort of lazy approach.

      • ? says:

        What? Is this translation thing? There were 13 sorcerer casualties on the side of northern kingdoms(out of 22 northern sorcerers present), Triss is the 14th one, because she got mixed in with “muggle” wounded, and only person able to identify her was blind at the time. (sorry if this sounds a little hostile, but hundreds?)

        As for Dragomok point, not only she limits describing her wounds to vague “my hair was gone and I’ll never wear this sort of dress again”(and even that could be merely a trauma from seeing stuff that happened to others) but books are pretty inconsistent with healing magic. On the one hand every member of sorcerers brotherhood gets “prettied up” with magic and Vilgefortz menages to regrow his lost eye, on the other hand Vilgefortz‘s right hand man gets badly burned early on and the best magic can do about his scar is illusion that would set off every magic detector, also sorceresses can’t do anything about Ciri‘s facial scar. So it might all be psychological damage for Triss, or she might have some scars, because magic is not as perfect as sorcerers would lead you to believe. One way or another book-Triss would have avoided low cut dresses, but then again game ditched all her character development and made her expy of Yennefer, so cleavage thing is low on my list of grievances.

        • James says:

          Derp your right, i’m thinking of two things, the hill and something else and i managed to combine the two, mark me down as a moron, there was only 13 killed and Triss was counted as the 14th.

          Magic in general is something thats a bit muddy in the witcher universe on purpose, Mages have to draw on a “source” to cast spells, but theirs no mana or anything like that, its usually something natural like earth or water, fire is considered the best but highly unstable. and normal people know little to less about magic and some even know less then nothing.

          i think it might be because some people react differently to magic then others healing wise, Triss cannot be healed by magic as she is allergic to it, and it would kill her.

  11. Felblood says:

    So, about adjustable hair on character creators.

    There is a game series that has been doing this for years, but it feel pretty weird to admit that I know this, at least on this particular site.*

    However with the discussion of The Witcher, that came after, it seems more appropriate.

    Illusion games have been doing this for a decade,now.

    Granted these aren’t RPGs or full-on MMOs, so they can get away with trick that would have been an issue for MMOs before the large scale adoption of DSL or bette internet. (For example each character’s hair is made up of 3 or 4 models that can be mixed and matched, for the front, sides, back and extra parts of the hairstyle. That might have been a bandwidth problem when multiplied over a crowded scene, in 2004.)

    Plus, a lot of the hairstyles are immune to physics (and the ones that aren’t often look silly). So Shamus’ point stands on tress effects and animations being an limitation.

    Nevertheless, if Illusion can do it on their budget, the same tricks should work for a multibillion dollar publisher, producing a product that isn’t just character creator for CGI sexdolls.

    *(To be fair, I was in college in the mid 2000s and there are a lot worse things I could have tried.)

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      I just hope that if they ever offer anything that fiddly that they have a really good set of presets because I am more than happy to choose a basic hairstyle and play. I might fiddle with the face a bit but even there, I try to get the preset closest to what I want because if I fiddle much I get wonky looking faces. I’d sooner be bald that walk around with a stupid looking haircut because someone really wanted to play hairstylist with their character and that got us all stuck with a system that requires 30 min of trial and error.

  12. Nonsensical costumes for women is one of the reasons I didn’t like the Star Trek reboot.

    I’m not saying women in Star Trek aren’t or can’t be sexy, I’m saying that anyone in a pseudo-military organization who is required to wear miniskirts and high-heeled* boots shouldn’t take the people running it seriously.

    * I’ve harped on this before, but high heels on people who are supposed to be action-oriented is dumb. 7 of 9 had them on Voyager, Catwoman often has them, it’s just idiotic.

    • Ithilanor says:

      It’s something that Star Trek has pretty much always struggled with, unfortunately.

    • Phill says:

      One of the things I always appreciated about SG-1 was the way they manage to resists the temptation to dress Carter up in girly clothes. She was an air force officer, and wore the same clothes as the rest of the team. (There was one episode in (I think) the first series where she got kidnapped and dressed up in some skimpy dress, but they got that out of their system quickly).

      It was a nice change from Star Trek, where in DS-9 I remember reading an interview with the actress who played Dax (can’t remember her name) talking about how she had four pairs of fake breasts that were used in different kinds of scenes, depending on what she was doing and wearing.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      Its not like action is 7 of 9’s primary obligation. She works in astrometrics by herself most of the time and tends to do science and engineering stuff.

      If you want to be nitpicky about that, wearing starfleet uniforms on away missions isn’t very practical. You’d think they’d have some kind of field gear but you rarely see that.

      • Because being on a starship with ladders necessitates high heels? If so, why doesn’t Janeway have them? Or Torres? And it’s not like 7 isn’t sent on away missions, correct?

        As for your uniforms comment, that would only be relevant if they weren’t a unisex standard and the show had a limitless budget. Ideally, spacesuits or some kind of environmental macguffin would be used, but the supply of money isn’t infinite. Nor, however, are the uniforms dependent on stiletto footwear.

  13. Joe Informatico says:

    The armour in Dragon Age: Origins is mostly good. It’s kind of weird that a game that gets the heavy armours right ends up making extremely impractical light armours, exposing the legs and collarbone. At least the male and female versions of the light armours are both equally impractical, although some of the light armours (e.g., I think the Dalish Light Armor) expose the midriff on female characters, which is just stupid.

    DA2 I’m more forgiving of, because they’re clearly going for a stylized look over a practical one, and the conceit is it’s all a story Varric is telling, complete with embellishment. So I give Isabella’s attire a pass for the same reason I’m okay with Varric baring his chest and Fenris and Carver having bare arms.

    • Mathias says:

      In fairness, the heavy plate armor (especially the plate armor towards the end of DAO) is really impractical just because of weight concerns. You could easily trim down most of the plate armor to half its thickness and get the same amount of protection.

      In fact, that’s what plate armor works – it’s not supposed to just absorb the force of a stroke, it’s supposed to deflect it.

  14. First impressions of games are weird, you always go in with expectations in some form or another.

    If it’s a sequel then you expect certain things based on your experience with the prequel(s).

    If it’s something unknown then you only got trailers/teasers/reviews to go on.
    A teaser or trailer is limited to what is shown only, and almost all reviews are subjective (they kind of have to be, they are a review after all).

    Now a second impression of a game (second playthrough, or re-visiting the game many years later) you know what to expect and are more likely to view the game on it’s own.

    Sadly not many play through games more than once, myself with Dragon Age: Inquisition I have made 3 characters, the first played all the way through, the second maybe just a few hours in, the third character about halfway through the main story.

    I may not finish the game with character #2 as DA:I suffers from the main storyline being very linear (too linear for my taste, I loved KoTOR’s two paths near the end a lot for example.)

    But I highly advise revisiting a old game while you still are able to play it technically (due to hardware/software changes etc.)
    Either you’ll like/dislike it just as much or you will view the game differently than you recalled it.

    Provide DRM is not an issue (re-visiting games like this is why DRM is a really bad thing and why GOG is so great).

  15. Saints Row vs GTA comparison is interesting, over the years they have drifted apart.
    As far as open world games go I’d say that Fallout (3 and Vegas) kind of fit in-between GTA and Saints Row as to how serious or weird things are.

    GTA now is like playing in a sandbox and one kid insists on a serious story and the other wants to be silly.
    Saints Row now is like Barbie and Godzilla making out kind of silly, just weird and silly.
    Fallout now is like Godzilla having Barbies arms instead of his own, weird and dark with a spice of silly.

    I guess you can use GTA, Saints Row and Fallout as sub-sandbox genre descriptions.

  16. KingJosh says:

    “Unrest,” the game that Rutskarn wrote the script for a year or two ago, is on sale on Steam this week. 75% off both the standard ($3.74) and Special ($6.24) editions. It is under their Weeklong Deals section, and lasts until February 9th. The Special Edition (normally $24.99) has the soundtrack and a novella written by Rutskarn. With the sale, it’s still less than half the price of the standard edition’s normal price of $14.99. Uh, all those prices were in US Dollars.

  17. BobK says:

    Just a quick request – can you please make Diecast available on the Stitcher ( http://www.stitcher.com/ )? My understanding is that it is simple & free…

  18. Hair is contradicting in many games.

    I’ve seen games where the hair kind of vanish when you wear a helmet and makes you wonder how the heck it all fits inside that helmet comfortably.

    Dragon Age: Inquisition has a pretty good character creator except there is something odd with the hair and especially the beards.
    Not sure what it is with DA:I but the beards has weird polygonal gaps at the edges so it looks like it’s almost a loose beard.

  19. RCN says:

    Huh, I’ve sent various questions to diecast, and suddenly I get two answered on the same panel?

    Huh… cool.

    Weird how such an innocent question on hair customization end up being a discussion about sexuality in game. And it is like the third or forth time I’ve accidentally derailed discussions on the internet into sexual territory. Maybe being Brazilian is a curse, after all, we can’t keep off sex somehow. (Just kidding. Despite stereotypes, Brazilians can be ridiculously prudish in certain areas. There’s actually a strong religious and conservative movement to either outlaw carnival or force it to be less sexual… or at the very least, take the gay out of carnival.)

    Regarding the PC question, I’ve found out that the games I’ve liked most the last 8 years or so have been either German or Russian (with the occasional French or British title). And it’s been an almost covert affair. I only found out the development houses weren’t North American after researching them directly, usually finding myself in an eastern European website. While there’s been some indie American PC titles of note, I’ve found there to be very little actual investment from previously famous PC developers (with their IPs often changing into European hands, funnily enough).

    I’ve also found that some of my favorite smartphone games were developed here in South America, like Kingdom Rush (from Uruguay) and Knights of Pen & Paper (from my own city).

    As for the hair sliders, well, they allow us to make almost inhuman characters with the face sliders (or, in the case of Oblivion, ONLY inhuman characters, or, as Rutskarn so aptly put it, a race of mutant potato people), why not allow us to get ridiculous with hair as well? I don’t care if the hair would clip through the armor, in most games I’ll be seeing my character face 5% of the time, but their hair will be visible 90% of it.

  20. Steve C says:

    It pains me to say this but I agree with Josh. The blocky 3d graphics of the 90s were awful. They were so bad it was the reason why I stopped buying consoles entirely. I remember the first game that had “the best graphics ever!” and that was StarFox. And I thought StarFox was the fugliest game since the 80s Star Wars game was in arcades. The consoles after that (PS1, N64, GameCube)had terrible graphics and were worse than the SNES because of 3d. I get that people liked 3d graphics but I never saw why.

    A good example is Goldeneye. Everyone said what a great game it was and awesome the graphics were. I thought that looked like crap at the time. I still think it looks like crap. It wasn’t until the PS2 that I thought 3d graphics had progressed to the point I considered consoles playable and that wasn’t until a few years after the PS2 launched.

    • Kristoffer says:

      I think you’re thinking of maybe the saturn or dreamcast? The Gamecube is from the PS2 era, and certainly had as good graphics.

      People are obviously not going to agree on whether something looks pretty or not. My opinion has changed with the times. I used to believe 16-bit era looking sprites would never look dated, but as more companies have started using actual artwork in games(Skullgirls, the Ubiart games, Bastion and the Vanillaware games), TVs have gotten bigger and resolutions have gotten better, I find that drawings in games look better while old sprites in particular look worse. Early 3d models can look completely awful, but like Chris said, there are certain ones that hold up better because of the art direction. Nintendo’s early 3d isn’t painful to look at. I’ve been watching let’s plays of Metal Gear Solid recently and found I quite like the look of it, even though(or maybe because?) I have no nostalgia for the Playstation.

      I’m not going to mind if someone tries to ape those, but it’s much more likely that they’re just gonna make some really abstract looking models. It’s like the pixel art that’s all the rage now. There aren’t gonna be a lot that correctly mimic an old aesthetic, there are gonna be a few of those and then there will be a ton that look somewhat like Crawl, Sword and Sworcery, Nidhogg and Hyperlight Drifter instead. Stylized, super simple looking stuff, which can look very nice or very lazy.

  21. Joseph P. Tallylicker says:

    On the topic of low-poly uglyness… I’ve long found that System Shock 2 is a beautiful game that has aged very well in the graphical department – at least when it comes to the look of its levels. It’s well-known that its monsters are horrible low-poly abominations but the hallways and “level furniture” is IMO very tolerable. However, no-one I’ve spoken to agrees.

    Am I just mentally compensating for nostalgia?

  22. John says:

    The discussion of pixel art immediately reminded me of Prince of Persia–the original, by Jordan Mechner, published by Broderbund on the Apple II and other, lesser platforms. The game featured both pixel art–as is to be expected on a machine with 128K or less of RAM–and elegant animation. My understanding is that Mechner filmed family members performing various actions and then rotoscoped that. Is that really easier than using a modern 3D animation suite or motion capture facility? I’ll allow that it involves a lot less expenditure, but I don’t know that it’s easier.

    Incidentally, I love that game beyond measure. It does so much so well and under such limitations that it boggles my mind every time I think about it.

  23. Kyte says:

    One of the core things with sliders is that they only move vertices. You can push the forehead vertices forward or back, up or down, push boob vertices outwards or inwards, etc.

    However, if you had a slider that made hair longer, it’d just spread out the vertices, making each strand a punch of stiff wires linked together with hinge joints. And that obviously looks terrible.

    Then, to save polygons (because modeling each strand would be hilariously expensive) most other characteristics are baked into the texture. Some sliders could work, for example color (since tintable textures are a thing) and opaqueness and shininess, but that takes a ton of effort as well.

    And then other stuff like fuzziness and tidiness that’d need switching textures and then you approach combinatorial explosion in the number of textures you’d need to cover the slider’s options.

    • Phill says:

      While I agree with the conclusions, the sliders probably don’t just move polys. In my experience working with this kind of stuff, the sliders probably control different animations. The artist creates an animation of (a simple example) the eyebrows covering the range of allowable positions, and the final image is created using all the relevant animations at their chosen fixed position (i.e. not actually animating). The sliders control how far through each animation the character is, thus governing the appearance. Some animations (and therefore some sliders) might govern multiple animation bones, some bones might be affected by multiple animations, and some vertices by multiple bones.

      The problem with hair (aside from the fact that different lengths and wavinesses of hair behave differently physically) is that it is hard to have a set of animations to do much apart from lengthen or shorten sections of hair, or change colours. You can’t have the existence of a ponytail or a mohican on a slider very well, although you can for the length of the ponytail. There are too many ways of cutting hair, styling and wearing it, to plausibly manage with a set of animations.

      The best you can hope for without a dedicated hair-dressing simualtor is a pick list of styles, and some simply sliders to control the length of certain features (facial hair, hair length at the back, or similar). And plenty of games already do this – I’m 90% sure you could adjust hair length in Guild Wars 2 for example.

  24. Dragmire says:

    I still like Legend of Dragoon’s art despite how dated it is. It always seemed like a very efficient use of polygons and 2d art assets.

  25. Ithilanor says:

    One style I’d like to see (I’m not sure if it’s a full-fledged aesthetic) is spritework from the GBA era; I’m thinking of the Fire Emblem games in particular. Fairly detailed, but stylized art and animations, getting an impressive amount out of the hardware. Are there any current games using that same style?

    • Kristoffer says:

      Would love to see this. The Fire Emblem series used to have some amazingly powerful-looking attack animations(The DS one did not, and I’m pretty sure the wii and 3ds ones are 3d). I don’t know of any indies that have taken that style and run with it exactly, but at least Dust Force and Street Fighter 3 manage to get a similar level of impact in the characters’ actions.

  26. Kristoffer says:

    When it comes to enjoying Cards Against Humanity while not being American, I’ve found it works totally fine if the participants are able to understand the words and the reference is funny/understandable on its own. It’s usually enough to remove the cards like the one that mentions Bop-it, because those aren’t self-explanatory. Cards like “After the tsunami, what did Sean Penn bring to the people of Bahamas?” are okay because it doesn’t matter who that is. “Old people smell” or “a pyramid of severed heads” are international.

    To counteract the praise you laid on Dragon Age Inquisition just comparing it to the Witcher, I’d just like to say that while they’re good about not putting women in silly armor compared to men, most of them really don’t look good(while the Witcher 2 designs for the main characters all look really good and distinctive and colorful). The best in Inquisition go against the “practical looking” armor mantra: Vivienne, who has a white Maleficent outfit with a boob window thing going on, the Iron Bull, who’s following in Obelix’ footsteps, and Cole, who is a scarecrow. There’s also a cool human mage armor in the Fallow Mire that’s a robe with gauntlets, pretty much. Someone mentioned the pajamas your main character wears around the hub area, and that’s the worst outfit of them all! It somehow manages to fit every race and gender badly at once. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen clothing that’s so close to a second skin that completely avoids being sexy, even on a dwarf’s massive boobs. The game lacks so much armor variety over all that it would be nice if the options you did have were any good.

    I was pleased by how they handled the sex scenes though, if we’re talking “maturity/fanservice”. They cut away before the boning began and instead have scenes before and after, either humorous or heartwarming or silly dirty talk. I romanced the Iron Bull, mind. Can’t speak for Sera’s, I can only assume the worst.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      100% in agreement about the pajamas, both for this and the earlier thread, it is probably one of the ugliest sets of clothing I’ve seen in games. That said I do feel the need to point out that Cole’s thing is being stealthy/invisible rather than taking blows and that both in his and the Iron Bull’s case some types of armour seem to override the basic clothes design, for example giving Bull full plate or Cole… something not patchworky.

      I’m pretty sure the same overriding thing also applies to Varricks chest hair window, don’t remember about Vivienne but I woudln’t be surprised of there were sets that do it to. That said it is a bit strange that this only applies to some armour sets, as if they couldn’t fully commit one way or another between practical and character design armour.

      Just had a thought, maybe they didn’t have enough armour models for so many sets on so many characters?

      • Kristoffer says:

        Maybe. I remember Vivienne and Bull both getting later armors that still maintain their original/casual designs and armors that are just one size fits all for mages or warriors, like the breast plate for Iron Bull(Which is a shame, I do think it ruins their look). I don’t think any armor sets at all kept Cole looking like a scarecrow. It might have been a loyalty mission thing? After doing Vivienne’s loyalty mission I got a more powerful version of her horned helmet. Also thought I completed everything I could for Cole, though. Not sure about Varrick.

        And yeah, it’s all in the lore why these guys wouldn’t use heavy armor between spirit/memory altering assisted stealth and magical barriers and hardening skin, so maybe saying they go against “practical looking” isn’t right. What I meant to say was that they look the least believable and are yet definitely the coolest designs. Drawing something that looked like them without any kind of reference would be easy. If I tried doing the same with Cassandra or Blackwall it would be more recognizable if I just drew their heads.

  27. ehlijen says:

    An example I always think of when hearing about 2d sprites vs 3d polygon models is Mechcommander 1 vs 2. The first game was all sprites, and I hear it was quite labour intensive to create all the animation frames for the mechas.
    MC 2 switched to a full 3d engine and replaced all the sprite animations with full 3d models. Despite using higher resolution, all the models lost detail and became much uglier, in my opinion.

    MC 1 Atlas: http://sarna.s3.amazonaws.com/media/images/games/mechcommander/atlas.gif

    MC 2 Atlas:

    Moving to 3d had other advantages for the game (they could finally make terrain elevation and LOS interaction a real thing for example), but I was very disappointed that the hardware and OS requirements went up to make a pretty neat looking (my opinion at the time) game look worse.

  28. Evilmrhenry says:

    On the topic of the Witcher, the way I look at it is if you make a game featuring sexual topics, so be it, but I don’t really get that feeling with the Witcher. Instead, I am under the impression that the sexual content is not present to reinforce a narrative theme, but simply because the developers wanted sexual content. (To be fair, I haven’t actually played it.)

    For example, the collectible playing cards can create themes of “Women should be seen as bodies first”, or “sexual activities can be thought of as trophies”. If not commented on, those themes remain present and unquestioned in the work. (And those themes are terrible.) This can compete against the intended theme; in the Witcher’s case, I believe one theme is “actions have consequences, and they may not always be immediately obvious”. This theme is damaged by easy, consequence-free sex.

    • Thomas says:

      Yeah, I’ve heard good things about the sex in Triss’ relationship in Witcher 2, but normally the sex in those games seems to have been forced in so terribly it clashes with everything else in the game.

      More than that, the writing always felt like it was done by someone who’d barely had any sex at all. None of it felt natural or like it fitted into the world. It was teenager internet fiction.

      I mean when you’re trying to justify your sex by saying it’s the only way you can make the player care about the Damsel in Distress without having to build her character… that’s very clearly not a writer handling sex and people in a competent manner. It’s not like when you watch some German film with a ton of sex, but where it all fits into the world well because you know, having sex is something people do with each other in RL.

  29. Master Stew says:

    First time commenter here, however I have been following twenty sided and spoiler warning for a while (around two or three years), and I have never really figured out how to express my views on some of the topics presented, without breaking Shamus no religion and no politics stance on this site, which I competently respect and admire, if anyone feels what I am saying ever comes close to breaking that, please inform me and I can adjust accordingly.

    Anyhow first off thank you rutskarn for clearing the air for me, so to speak on that last issue. I have always felt that you (and to an extent campster) are leaning towards a certain stance on issues like this, related to recent controversy in gaming, (I am somewhat opposed to many of the ideas presented by this side, though I try to be neutral and impartial in many political cases like this.) And this was one of the reasons I was a little nervous about posting before as I did not want to offend either of you.

    But its great to see that you are more well rounded and reasonable than I first thought, and for showing a reasonable point about this issue.

    So away I believe that adult content or simply fan service like stuff always has a right to exist, and I believe in artist freedom,(for context I am Scottish and live in the UK so perhaps I have different perspective on this due to slight cultural differences, and I am also a fan of the witcher series though I did have some issue with the first game and the sex cards.) And I think that the witcher series having sexual content fits with the tone and universe as josh was saying, (though I agree that geralt having pants on was very strange and it took me out of the scene and the serious, mature, tone they were going for, they should have just gone all the way if that’s their tone.)

    However I also agree with rutskarns great point, that the tone of the universe can affect the way your art is presented. For example I think that having revealing outfits or fan service stuff, (for male or female characters)in a more over the top sci-fi or fantasy setting works and fits more or less. However If I where to take a serious gritty espionage setting like the TV show 24, and put most of the characters in quite revealing outfits regularly. That would be very weird and clash with the tone, yet also hilariously silly.

    On the flip side take the James bond franchise, that is quite over the top and goofy, with that it makes a lot more sense due to tone and the audience that it is marketed, to have content like that.

    Anyway that’s just my two cents on that issue. hope it gives people something to think about as rutskarn’s point did for me.

    On another note I agree with josh on the question about European devs working on more PC titles. Being European myself I have grown up with many of these medium budget titles, and a enjoy many of them and its nice to see the market growing for such games. (examples include the Stalker series, Men of war, Wargame seris, and any paradox titles are among my favourites.) However I actually have quite wide tastes, as I play on both PC and xbox, and I occasionally enjoy many more main stream titles, such call of duty halo, battlefield, and FIFA.

    So that’s it for my fist blog post. Let me know what you guys think, and I hope I did not come across to strongly about my views. Keep up with the great work on spoiler warning.

  30. CrazyYarick says:

    Just in case you were wondering. People like doing old-timey style characters. There is a sub 1k tris forum thread on polycount


  31. Cinebeast says:

    When you were talking about modern games that emulate low-poly graphics of the nineties and early naughts, the first thing I thought of was The Path, by Tale of Tales. Maybe you don’t remember it, Shamus, but you got quite a lot of mileage out of the game a few years ago. It was a Red Riding Hood adaptation with a psychological horror slant.

    Anyway, it deliberately went for an Ocarina of Time-esque graphical style, I would say. It certainly sent a few waves of nostalgia my way.

    Uh. So yeah. That’s the only game I could think of.

  32. EDIT for context: I think for me, a game that I gave a second chance to after a bad initial impression was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It’s quite good, but that can be lost amidst the hate for its sequals.

    Halo might be a similar case. I think very few people will agree with me, but there’s a certain…simplicity (elegance?) to the story in Halo 1 which I have always appreciated. The plot is really basic, but it implies a deep and detailed backstory that, to be honest, I kind of wish hadn’t been exhaustively explored in the later games and books. Leave some of those questions unanswered, you guys! But, whatever.

  33. James Porter says:

    The hair conversation reminded me of my theory as to why so many of Bethesda’s hairstyles has more things like mohawks has more to do with the world. All those mohawks are for the bandits and raiders in those games, who are randomly generated and make up the majority of the enemies a player may see(unfortunately. ).It would look weird if a group of raiders all had the same mohawk, or if they had all the pretty dews. I have always assumed that Bethesdas character creators was developed first with the npc’s in mind, and then later they dump all the assets into a character creator(which would explain how awful oblivions character creator is).

  34. Peter H. Coffin says:

    “Graphic limitations as art style” at about 48:00

    If Shamoose loves mixed graphic styles, he should go take a peek at GW2’s Super Adventure Box subgame sometime. Here’s a gameplay video:


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