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Frost Giant

Werthead's page

1,851 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Kryzbyn wrote:
same graphics, or updated?

The GoG edition contains the 1993/94 originals, and the 1998 special editions that were the same missions but in the X-WING VS TIE FIGHTER engine. Nothing more updated than that.

X-WING ALLIANCE isn't in the first wave, but I'm assuming it's somewhere further down the line in the rest of the 30 games.

Just realised that my old Sidewinder stick doesn't really work any more, so if I want to play these I'm going to have to move up my new joystick purchase for ELITE: DANGEROUS.

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X-Wing and TIE Fighter are being re-released later today on GoG with updated modern-PC friendly editions and include both the original versions and the 1998 special editions and all their expansions. Which is nice.

We're also getting updated versions of Sam and Max Hit the Road, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Knights of the Old Republic today. Apparently this is the start, with GoG bringing a total of 30 LucasArts games to their service in the next few months. Discounting the console-only titles and newer games that still work fine, that has to be almost all of them.

And to cap it all off, Sega are also apparently going to be releasing a PC version of Valkyria Chronicles.

This new Elite: Dangerous fan trailer is pretty good.

Frontier will release the official, final release date on 22 November. And they are still 100% adamant about it launching before the end of 2014, so as of today the game is an absolute maximum of nine weeks away.

Hudax wrote:

I think the major contributer to the problem is the huge-sweeping-multi-book-single-story-epic just isn't a viable form. And I think a major contributer to that problem is, the writers who are inclined to pursue that form don't know when to stop. (Terry Brooks would call this a failure to outline, meaning if you don't know where you're going when you start, you'll just go on and on.)

Is anyone else hoping Rothfuss's 3rd book is the last one?

I'm not sure if the writers engaged in sweeping epics are megalomaniacs, or if it's a problem perpetuated by publishers wanting to indenture writers, or if stand-alone books don't sell as well, or if writers don't want to do them as much. But I'm really starting to not want to see any more series. At all. It's to the point where I cringe whenever I see something new and see it's "book 1 of who the hell knows." There's a reason Netflix originals are released whole seasons at once. They understand that's how people want to consume entertainment. Serialized entertainment is becoming obsolete.

More stand-alones, please. There's something to be said for being able to tell a *whole* story in just one book. (That something is *thank you!*)

You hit the nail on the head here. Stand-alones are much tougher to sell for publishers, even for successful authors. Sequels and series sell much more, are more bankable and result in a more predictable income stream for author and publisher. In terms of books serialised entertainment is still very much the most profitable road to take. The better path to take is to write stand-alones which are set in a common setting or world, like Pratchett or Guy Gavriel Kay, which seems to work well.

You can see it with GRRM. He has (or seems to have) a lot less diehard fans than he did when I first heard about him. Contrary-wise, authors like, I dunno, Terry Pratchett just get more and more popular as time passes.

GRRM has a lot more diehard fans that he used to, but now the entry way into his books is a lot more varied (divided between TV and readers-first). He's still a hugely popular author with a lot of hardcore fans, but they're now more likely to have come from the TV show than the books first.

Which would be a perfectly valid argument if other authors weren't doing a job that was both good AND timely.

There are two problems with this statement. The first is that whilst there is a lot of "pretty good" stuff out there, the amount of epoch-making, game-changing stuff is incredibly rare. ASoIaF is, like or not, in that bracket. Something like Ben Aaronovitch's RIVERS OF LONDON series, although hugely enjoyable, is not.

The second is the common one that GRRM's output is insanely or unprecedently slow. It isn't. In terms of how quickly he churns out the word count, he's actually faster than JK Rowling and vastly faster than Pat Rothfuss. The problem is more that his books are gigantic and his exacting writing method is not best-suited to producing those books quickly. If you asked most authors if it was unreasonable to take five years to write half a million words, they'd look at you like you were crazy. Some take two or three years to write just 100,000, but because the books are much shorter you see them more often.

Book 2: Half the World


The High King of the Shattered Sea is displeased with the new King of Gettland and his defiance. Forces religious and military gather to bring Gettland to heel, but the king's advisor is crafty and cunning beyond his years. Yarvi brings together a new fellowship to travel halfway across the known world to the First of All Cities and there make an audacious play for an alliance. Unfortunately, his crew consists of cutthroats, ex-criminals, disgraced boy warriors and violent murderers.

Half the World is the middle volume of The Shattered Sea and picks up several years after the end of Half a King. This novel features a structural shift from the previous one, with the narrative now divided between two new characters - Brand and Thorn - and Yarvi relegated to more of a supporting/mentor role. It's a nice structural twist that means that Yarvi's storyline continues from his previous book, but is now presented more in flashes and glimpses from the other characters. If you haven't read Half a King, you won't notice too much of this but those who have will find themselves able to follow Yarvi's story as it develops mostly off-stage.

Thorn is where much of the book's marketing has been directed and it's easy to see why. Less of a tomboy and more of a walking ball of anger, Thorn could be the milder, younger sister of Ferro (from The First Law Trilogy). Her character arc is - at least somewhat - traditional but she remains a vibrant and well-written protagonist. Brand, the young warrior disgraced for being too nice and who has to make good, is a much more standard character but Abercrombie gives him enough flair and memorable moments (including an eye-watering moment where he has to stop a ship being ported from rolling over).

There's some splendid action and some intriguing politicking, but it's the frigid atmosphere (turning more clement as our characters journey south and off the edge of the map) and the relentless pace that make this novel so successful, and more enjoyable than its forebear. Abercrombie is still working with a shorter word count than normal here and it helps maintain focus and drive. This is a 400-page novel where the pages fly by. Abercrombie is also upping his game with his prose, with some darkly delicious dialogue and more poetical moments peppering his more traditional style of black humour. Even the worldbuilding is taken up a notch, with the idea that the Shattered Sea might be a far future, post-apocalyptic part of our world developed further.

Half the World (****½) is a resounding success and an improvement on Half a King on almost every front. It will be released on 12 February 2015 in the UK and five days later in the USA. Highly recommended.

I realised my problem at the Prison was that I'd gone there too early. I'd gone south to deal with Highpool and the AG Centre, and it seemed more sensible to visit the Prison whilst I was down there. I only visited the Ranger Citadel and sorted out the Rail Nomad dispute after doing everything I could in the Prison Valley apart from getting inside the prison itself. So yeah, I made my life difficult there for no real reason. Still, by the time I reached the Rail Nomad area I was tough enough to blitz through it easily enough. It's the roleplaying to get the best outcome in that storyline that is the tricky part but I just about managed to pull it off.

Yup, THE SILMARILLION has Luthien, Morwen, Elwing, and Melian, amongst many others, as pretty important characters. Luthien even:

Defeats Sauron in combat - !!! - with the help of her hound and steals a Silmaril from Morgoth's brow before rescuing Beren. That's much more impressive than anything Gandalf ever did in LotR.

Reached the prison in Wasteland 2. It's pretty hardcore. I sneaked in the side way and got the drop on the enemies, but they attack in such large numbers it's impossible to take them down before they overwhelm me (the grenade-slingers in particular are lethal).

I might have to reload and do some more stuff outside the prison. Unlike some of the other quests, the prison isn't a time-limited one (it's a story-critical, set-in-stone one, I believe) so I can bail and come back later.

My friend complained terribly on dialogues, plot, and NPC personalities...

The writing and dialogue are okay, with occasional inspired spikes of genius. But in terms of plot/combat ratio, WASTELAND 2 reminds me of ICEWIND DALE more than the original FALLOUTs or other isometric RPGs. Combat is frequent, increases in difficulty continuously and not as well-designed as might be wished, although it's certainly not impossible or unenjoyable.

WASTELAND 2 is very hard and pretty old-skool, although I think it's been massively overstated by some reviews. It is neither as hard nor as old-skool in its inscrutability as DIVINITY: ORIGINAL SIN, and is more approachable. It suffers from over-finicky skill replication (making Safecracking and Lockpicking different skills is one specialisation too far, especially since Computer Science is such a massive church it covers probably way too many circumstances) and also is extremely stingy with ammo and money, making simply staying alive hard work. That's good in the sense that it means you think more about survival in the post-apocalyptic nightmare than you do in FO3 (which is a theme park in comparsion), but it's bad when you have to constantly trek back to the Citadel or Highpool for supplies.

This is also a dangerous strategy because most of the mayday signals you encounter are time-limited. If you are tardy in dealing with a mayday you may lose the opportunity to counter the threat and turn up to find everyone dead. Realistic in the sense there are consequences for your action and inaction, but frustrating because the Rangers don't seem to have anyone else to send (shades of STAR TREK's "Only Federation ship in the quadrant," syndrome).

I do kind of like these games which seem to encourage failure so you learn the game's systems and then can restart with more information (like D:OS, FTL and X-COM for that matter), but there is an issue when they are multi-dozen-hour RPGs and I have a full-time job, almost 60 unplayed games on my Steam queue and two enormous new games (ELITE: DANGEROUS and PILLARS OF ETERNITY) just weeks away :)

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I would be very interested in Scott's definition of GamerGate at this stage, and an explanation for why GamerGate's first target was a non-profit-making indie game which hadn't actually been reviewed and barely even mentioned by the journalistin question, and not one of the much bigger, much more clearly fraudulent incidents of publisher/journalist collusion that took place in the past.

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GamerGate is focused on addressing corruption in video games journalism, fighting back outside influences (non-gamers) attempting to manipulate gamer culture, defying censorship covering up the two previous concerns, exposing propaganda masquerading as fact, encouraging new video games journalists, and preserving the existence of a relative free market in game development. The Wikipedia article has been censored time and time again so as to present only "acceptable" narratives.

Professional victims, cultural Marxism, and non-gamers have no business dictating how hardcore game development should progress and what topics should be included.


GamerGate is focused on using alleged but unproven corruption in video game journalism coverage of non-profit-making indie games as a smokescreen and diversionary tactic so that a small number of self-identified "hardcore gamers" can fight back against the encroachment of women and minority groups in trying to make gaming more inclusive. They view the social/cultural criticism of gaming as a threat to the games they play (violent and male-dominated, exemplified by militaristic first-person shooters) and that it will expose many alleged "hardcore gamers" as people who behave extremely badly online.

They are utterly opposed to the existence of a free market in game development, as such a market exists right now and the rise of Kickstarter/indie games allows minority voices to be heard more prominently than previously.

Supporters of GamerGate seem gripped by an irrational fear that the games they prefer are in some kind of danger from this expansion of gaming to be a much larger, more varied and more general medium, despite the likes of CALL OF DUTY and GTA still selling tens of millions of copies per game and being the biggest-selling franchises in gaming history.

It should be noted that the self-identified "hardcore gamers" who support GamerGate tend to be young-ish (teens and twenties), heavily invested a small number of genres (console shooters, predominantly) and not very well-versed in the history of the medium (particularly the 1980s/90s adventure and roleplayng games that actually had quite a few major female characters and even developers without the sky collapsing). This makes it more amusing when they dismiss arguments running counter to their own as coming from "non-gamers", given they tend to be as knowledgeable about the wider history and culture of the medium as a box of frogs :)

The previous paragraph may be a strawman, however.

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It's about journalistic integrity, or lack thereof. Quinn was the catalyst in bring an issue that has existed for a long damn time to light.

This is a smokescreen, frankly.

The claim of journalistic ethics in this case is ludicrous. Nathan Grayson never reviewed DEPRESSION QUEST and only mentioned it in passing prior to their relationship starting. When the relationship did start, it was disclosed to the Kotaku team, and any conflict of interest was avoided. DEPRESSION QUEST is also a free game (although at one time you could voluntarily donate to Quinn for it, I belive), so there was no monetary aspect involved.

If we compare this to the incident in 2007 when Jeff Gerstmann was fired from GameSpot after giving KANE & LYNCH a medicore review after the publishers had paid enormous sums of advertising revenue into the site. Four other writers quit in protest. Neither in 2007, when the story first broke, nor in 2012 when the particulars were confirmed, was Eidos or GameSpot DDoSed, doxxed, or anyone involved in either company threatened with rape or had naked pictures of them published.

This was a level of corruption many magnitudes greater than anything in the GamerGate non-scandal, involving millions of dollars of advertising and journalistic ethics compromised on an epic scale, but it was a five-day wonder, over and forgotten about in considerably less time than this current 'scandal' has taken to gestate.

There's also the more recent situation with BATTLEFIELD 4 getting very high and praising reviews despite the game being effectively unplayable for many on release, and taking months to get patched to something acceptable to most players. Again, people have moaned but not made anything like the fuss that has been made about GamerGate.

For something more recent, we have Bethesda's loathsome publishing practices in driving partner companies to the brink of ruin and then buying them up at a bargain cost, something they did to id and Arkane and tried to do to Human Head but were halted in their tracks by legal action. No-one seemed very bothered about that. Or Bethesda's preposterous treatment of Obsidian after they made NEW VEGAS the most successful Bethesda-published game of all time (until SKYRIM).

Controversies in the gaming industry which have destroyed companies and lives and involved corruption to the tune of millions of dollars have been regular occurrences for decades. Yet the fuss made about them was incredibly muted until a female games creator released a free game and then - some time later - had a relationship with a journalist who had absolutely nothing to do with her game.

I have zero doubt that there are many supporters of GamerGate who don't care about Quinn or Sarkeesian, aren't sexist and are concerned about gaming review ethics. But they've attached themselves to a poisoned cause.

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Do you feel that this is an accurate portrayal of people concerned about the GamerGate events?


Where was it enshrined that "Gameplay is king" is a "key complaint" of the movement?

On many recent reviews of a game by many of the 'criticsed' websites (such as RPS and Kotaku) where any criticism of sexism is shot down with, "Who cares? What about the GAMEPLAY? Why won't anyone talk about the GAMEPLAY?" Also see the Wikipedia definition.

Who and where are these people who believe that everything cultural or social about video games should be ignored? Who and where are these people who are "genuinely baffled" by the idea that sexism can make a game less enjoyable?

Many supporters of GamerGate.

I don't want to be associated with people like that, but at the same time I'm having a hard time believing that they even exist in numbers large enough that they can be said to define the movement. It sounds like an absurd, tribalistic strawman created to make opposing it easier to stomach.

They are the movement.

In the absence of a final arbiter of reality let's go with Wikipedia's definition of the controversy, apparently achieved consensually after approximately forty millions edit wars and screaming matches on the talk page:


Gamergate (sometimes referred to as GamerGate or as a Twitter hashtag #gamergate) is a controversy in video game culture concerning long-standing issues of sexism and misogyny in the gamer community and journalistic ethics in the online gaming press, particularly conflicts of interest between video game journalists and developers. The controversy came to wider attention due to harassment that indie game developer Zoe Quinn received after an ex-boyfriend posted allegations on his blog in August 2014 about her personal life that led others to accuse her of professional impropriety to obtain positive media coverage for her game. Those subsequent allegations were shown to be false, but the debate they sparked continued. Other topics of debate have included perceived changes or threats to the "gamer" identity as a result of the maturing and diversifying of the gaming industry.

Cultural changes within the gaming industry, gaming community, and gaming journalism are seen as having formed the situation in which the controversy has arisen. The rising popularity of the medium, and greater emphasis on games as a potential art form, has led to a commensurate focus on social criticism within gaming media and indie works. This shift has prompted opposition from traditional "hardcore" gamers who view games purely as a form of entertainment. This opposition, however, has often been expressed in the form of personal harassment of female figures in the industry rather than constructive cultural conversations. The harassment campaign against Quinn was of such ferocity as to attract significant mainstream media attention which focused on the sexist, misogynistic and trolling elements of the gamer community. Nonetheless allegations of impropriety in gaming media have prompted policy changes at several outlets, and commentators generally agree that the systemic problems in the gaming media need to be discussed. That said, the harassment and misogyny associated with GamerGate is seen as having poisoned the well, and the choice to focus the campaign on a heretofore relatively obscure independent developer rather than AAA publishers has led to questions about its motivations.

tl;dr: GamerGate saw decades-standing question over ethics in video game journalism raised (which is good) but nonsensically over a zero-profit indie video game where all charges of corruption where unequivocally proven false (which is bad) and for some reason the very real corruption of Triple-A publishers and media collusion is completely ignored (which is hypocritical), apparently because no women attempting to write about social issues - however successfully - are involved (which may be sexist) and if there were they would get rape threats (which definitely is sexist, and also illegal).

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Yuugasa wrote:
I've watched the first few videos so far, aside from some very occasional snark here and there and a couple context based errors I've caught I don't understand why this would upset anyone. It's very tame and innocuous.

There is a broader context here. For years - decades, actually - video games have been dismissed from any kind of wider cultural conversation. They're not covered like films and novels are, despite being vastly more popular and making more money than any other media form (bar music, anyway). That's annoyed a lot of gamers for a very long time.

That's changed significantly in the last few years, particularly when the late uber film critic Roger Ebert said that games were not art and later changed his mind after wider exposure to them. This opened up a wider debate and more artistic games (stuff like DEAR ESTHER, JOURNEY) and games less dependent on mass slaughter (PORTAL) or which gave the player more choice and agency (a lot of Bethesda stuff) came to wider attention. Here in the UK we finally got some mainstream, massively popular comedians/critics (Dara O'Briain and Charlie Brooker) who got gaming discussion into the mainstream, and so on.

All of this would be great, but this more widespread acceptance of gaming as a valid modern art form has also led to gaming being dissected from social and cultural perspectives. A key complaint of GamerGate proponents is that "Gameplay is king," and people should be talking about the gameplay as the most important thing and anything social or cultural should be ignored. "It doesn't matter if a game is sexist as long as the game is fun," is a fundamental touchstone of the movement, and the suggestion that sexism makes the game less fun for many players (including male gamers as well as women) seems to genuinely baffle them.

Or, to put it another way, a number of gamers who have argued for years that games should be treated seriously are now rather annoyed that they are being treated seriously and dissected on the same level as other media forms.

but were here very soundly in favor of the argument that sexism in games causes sexism in society

I've never seen this argument put forwards by any of the gaming press. The principal complaints I've seen that sexism in general is unpleasant, that it puts off women from gaming and that retards the broader cultural acceptance of video games as a legitimate art form, and that it provides a 'safe haven' where sexist and misogynistic men/boys can gather without having their assumptions challenged.

The suggestion that sexism in games causes sexism in society is pretty farcical for the reasons you suggest, although it can certainly reinforce existing cultural problems in that area.

I'll also admit my opinion of her is also kind of colored by what I see as her abuse of Kickstarter. You do not need people to fund your series of Youtube videos.

Probably not, but it's also sensible to get people to pre-buy your product before you make it if at all possible. You could make the same argument about a lot of game projects on Kickstarter (Obsidian, in particular, could have come up with an alternate strategy of funding PILLARS OF ETERNITY, and maybe Larian with DIVINITY: ORIGINAL SIN) as well.

For that to happen, you'd have to assume that there was a major majority for independence in the first place.

Support for independence in Scotland has traditionally hovered at 30% or less for decades (since the 1970s at least) and the independence movement was trailing by a dozen points as recently as the summer. The real shock was how much ground the Yes vote gained in the last few weeks. The reasons for that still aren't clear, but Westminster arrogance and refusal to negotiate or engage on certain issues has been blamed, as has the impact of so many young, first-time voters. There's also the fact that Scotland is actually economically in a pretty good state at the moment (a lower unemployment rate than London), which bolsters confidence.

Does a DnD movie need to define itself as being completely different from all other fantasy movies? I don't think so, or at least I don't think it needs to in order to be successful.

D&D itself - the core books and their assumpts anyway - is a collection of fairly general, standard fantasy tropes. That's why it's been so successful, it's the ur-fantasy game which serves a lot of different subgenres.

The problem is that its genericness which serves gaming so well is a bit of a barrier to making a distinct D&D movie, as there is no such thing.

Using a pre-determined D&D world might help, but some are too far removed from the core D&D experience to resonate with a wider audience: DARK SUN, RAVENLOFT and PLANESCAPE would be too 'out there' to find a big audience whose expectations of a D&D movie would probably be more about magic, the standard races, dragons and dungeons.

Psst. Module adaptation.

Potentially, but would depend on the module. TOMB OF HORRORS: THE MOVIE might sound great, but to be loyal to the module movie audiences would have to sit through many minutes of adventurers carefully testing every stone in a room for traps only to get completely splattered by some obscure falling block they missed.

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So is it sexism if a female won't hire a female?


There was a controversy here a few years ago when an older female business-owner declared that she would only be hiring women if they were incapable of bearing children, since as a small business owner she should not have to pay for maternity leave. This was regarded as sexist as it was denying potential employees work on the basis of an underlying fact of their gender they can do absolutely nothing about (i.e. all women can theoretically bear children up until medically they cannot, regardless of religion, sexuality or abstinance).

It's not commonplace, but it does happen that some women themselves perpetuate culture's acceptance of sexism.

I don't really see that for, say, the North-East, West Midlands, and so on - they are much more administrative divisions than regional identities. I DO see plenty of scope for an English Parliament, since the English are the only ones not to have one, and the logic of Devo Max to Scotland will have to be applied across the country. Cameron has hinted at something to address the West Lothian Question, but it's not clear what it might be.

If you asked someone from Manchester or Yorkshire if they were culturally the same as someone from London or Kent, it would really not go down very well. Regional identities in the UK can be very distinctive in terms of language, food and political leanings. The country is reasonably small but the regions that make it up (and I'm just talking about England by itself here) are quite protective of their own identities.

Heck, this is even true in Wales where people from Cardiff are seen as being distinctly different to natives of the valleys to people who live on the coast, or on Anglesey.

It can seem crazy to people from other, much larger countries (where there is nothing like as much cultural differentiation across much greater distances), but the UK really is a melting pot of different cultures and has been for thousands of years. England itself is a union of seven distinct pre-medieval kingdoms and some of those distinctive qualities crazily remain a thousand years on.

Don't confuse a "possible" revenue stream with a "likely" one or even with a "profitable" one. If all you care about is a "possible" revenue stream, I'm sure you'll rush out with a Gupapuyngu translation of your next console platformer. Granted, there are only about 300 Gupapuyngu speakers in the world, and I don't now that any of them own a console,.... but hey, they might buy a copy of the game, and a console to run it on, and that's a possible revenue stream, right?

Superb. Urban Dictionary's definition of "Strawman" was a bit old so this will do nicely as a replacement.

This is almost starting to sound like an updated version of The Producers:

Logical fallacy.

THE PRODUCERS was a (fictional) stage play deliberately designed to fail so it would earn the backers a substantial insurance pay-out.

As a comparison to the real-world problem of sexism and many game-developers alienating 50%+ of potential customers, it is both an abject and utter failure to the point of inanity.

Better luck next time.

Considering that the first two Dungeons & Dragons films were released in 2000 and 2005, respectively (in other words, the first developed when TSR owned D&D, the second developed during the 3.0/early 3.5 days) and were both widely panned, I think you might have a case of rose-colored-glasses-itis.

TSR flogged off the movie rights to some random unproven dude in 1991 for $15K. Neither TSR nor WotC nor Hasbro had any control whatsoever over the first two movies, and have only had legal recourse to go after the movie rights since the debacle surrounding the third film's release two years ago.

WotC and Hasbo seethed over the quality level of the movies, make absolutely no mistake over that. They heavily disliked them, but had no choice but to back them for the marketing tie-in opportunities.

Wasteland 2 review from RPS.

Many more starting to come in as well.

A very rough consensus is that it's good, but not quite as good as the "real" FALLOUT 3 you may have had in your mind since 1997. Which is understandable.

Necromancer wrote:
They do have "excuses" (or rather, reasons) why they've avoided the extra step: significant success without taking the extra step, few women play the games, decision to focus on additional mechanics (new weapons, vehicles, misc tech, etc.) in lieu of female models, and likely a publisher resistance to risk the inclusion of one element at the cost of other elements (e.g. mechanics or graphic improvements) that will be included by competitors. With the way some "critics" react, it's little wonder that publishers are wary of including female avatars out of a desire to avoid the inevitable "violence against women" accusations (despite the thousands of male character deaths piling up on scoreboards).

Yup, because the violence inflicted against the female avatar in TOMB RAIDER (all eleventy billion of them), PORTAL or METROID was a big controversy.


Well thankfully the large bulk of the computer game industry is interested in making money and not pushing morals.

"Hey, we're ignoring 50% of a possible revenue stream."

"Holy hell, that's crazy. We could have sold 70 million games rather than 35 million. Why did we not market to that market sector?"

"They have uteri."

Yup, from a market perspective this makes complete and total sense.

Typically, modern games grounded in realism offer fewer character/avatar options, simpler stories, and more mechanic-driven gameplay than space opera/fantasy RPGs.

Indeed. But that doesn't really address the issue that even these games - especially when recent CoD games go in for asymmetrical warfare in a big way - don't really have an excuse for not featuring more female characters or try to appeal more to female gamers. CoD did actually lean a little towards it (if only slightly) in GHOSTS, so it'll be interesting to see if that trend continues in ADVANCED WARFARE, given it's much more of an SF game and thus is not constrained by dubious notions of 'realism'.

By that argument, the Belgians, Catalonians, and Ukranians should get a vote as well.

That's why the Scottish referendum has been massively condemned in Spain and doesn't seem to be going down well in a lot of Europe (or Canada for that matter).


I don't think there is much of an appetite for regional government in England. Beyond an excitable minority in Cornwall.

Lots of people just see it as an extra layer of government.

I've seen fairly widespread support for it if it benefits those regions. If it doesn't, then no, it doesn't make sense. But it has become a far more popular idea in the last few years, particularly due to the viewpoint that London and a very small number of other areas (including, ironically, Scotland) have benefitted massively from the economic recovery whilst other parts of the country are in destitution. Whether a regional government can help with that problem or not is another question, but there is a perception it might.

WASTELAND 2 is out tomorrow. Not sure if I'll get it straight away, or hold fire for a while.

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The argument that a minority of women play 'core' games (I presume that's a contraction of hardcore) is pretty well-supported, but the reasons for this are not really engaged with. CALL OF DUTY did not permit female avatars until the last game in the series, the series has featured very few female characters of any note at all (even when it would have been appropriate, such as the Russian levels of the WWII games) and its reputation for online play without resorting to moronic language (especially on X-Box) is not great.

OTOH, far more women play MASS EFFECT, a series where the gameplay also mostly consists of mowing down bad guys with bullets (or lasers) but which has a far more diverse cast, far more prominent female characters, and the ability to play the main character as a woman, with such superior voice acting that a significant number of male players also choose to play with the female avatar.

There is a something of a self-confirming bias here. The issue isn't that women have an inherent aversion to violent games, but an aversion to games that are not inclusive towards them. Fewer women play certain 'core' games (and this appears to be more of a Western issue, with JRPGs and games like MARIO not being quite as gender-split as Western games) because of limitations of the medium, not because women are less interested in 'proper' games at all and so therefore games can continue being "istisms" until the cows come home.

It isn't odd that the rest of the union doesn't get to vote. That would make it a joke.

The impact it will have on the UK is quite large: if Scotland leaves or stays but with enhanced powers, it will be impossible to deny a superior level of devolution to Wales and Northern Ireland, and the demand for regional assemblies within England itself (for Yorkshire, Cornwall, the Midlands etc) will be very strong.

The effect this will have on the UK is immense. At the moment all of the country's money goes into a central pot and is redistributed. With regional assemblies all with tax-raising powers (which Scotland will get, so they will have to as well), the situation will be rather different.

I was surprised to discover that the Doctor can shut people down with a finger to the forehead.

The Doctor could occasionally do this in the original series as well, but only very rarely.

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I mean, in the history of cinema, how many sequels that were only planned after the success of the original movie were actually good (never even mention better)? The Toy Story sequels, for sure. Terminator 2, Captain America 2, X-Men 2... that's about it, right? 95% of sequels are exactly as Nosebiter described them.

ALIENS, THE WRATH OF KHAN, BACK TO THE FUTURE II (kind of; the ending of BTTF1 was certainly a cliffhanger, but they only revisited and planned 2 and 3 after 1 was a huge success).

This is a bit different because Del Toro did plan out at least two (possibly three) films whilst the first was still being written.

del Toro dropped At the Mountains of Madness for this?

The studio passed, apparently after (questionably) deciding that the premise was too similar to PROMETHEUS. Also, when they were talking about it, they wanted it to be PG-13 which Del Toro was not down with (he's since changed his mind, however).

First gameplay video.

Pre-alpha, but still highly promising.

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The court case begins in the next few weeks.

To recap, Warner Brothers want to make a big-budget D&D movie with the name CHAINMAIL. They have joined forces with Sweetpea Entertainment, who made the first three (terrible) live-action films, to do this.

Hasbro have claimed that Sweetpea no longer have the D&D movie rights, because they failed to 1) release a new film every five years as agreed (BOOK OF VILE DARKNESS came out seven years after WRATH OF THE DRAGON GOD) and 2) failed to release films to the cinema; the second and third movies were both DVD/TV films. Both of these clauses were in the original movie deal signed between Sweetpea and TSR way back in 1991 (!). Hasbro have signed a deal with Universal Pictures to develop a D&D film, one that is speculated may also involve pre-existing D&D characters (even if Sweetpea and WB win the fight, they only have the rights to the generic D&D spells and monsters; they don't have the rights to DRAGONLANCE, FORGOTTEN REALMS or any of the characters etc).

A new factor has surfaced, however. The judge has delivered a preliminary warning that WB commissioning and writing a script before getting the film rights may itself constitute a breach of copyright, which would set an enormous legal precedent for all of Hollywood. It would mean that Marvel can't write a SPIDER-MAN script and keep it on file for rapid development should Sony lose their rights, for example. So suddenly this legal tussel has attracted a lot more attention.

This smuggling video is rather cool.

Illogical, it has to be said, but cool. It shows how the stealth mechanics in the game (powering down all heat-producing systems) work.

the new series/movie is supposed to take place long after the original

The sequel series idea was abandoned about a decade ago. All of the recent attempts to get the show moving again have been day one reboots of the concept.

A report on playing ELITE: DANGEROUS with the Oculus Rift for two weeks. It sounds awesome, apart from the Rift leaving red marks on your face afterwards.

This is due out on 24 March 2015 and seems to be one of the most heavily-anticipated CRPGs of the year. There's a 35 minutes gameplay video highlighting the new open world (which is significantly larger than SKYRIM's, and vastly prettier), combat and some quite extraordinarily good music for the game.

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

Totally, completely not liking the non-3D approach of Pillars of Eternity.

I want to see Pathfinder/Golarion in rotating 3D like I experienced Neverwinter et al in NWN/NWN 2 and like I have seen in PFO.

3D is much, much more expensive and time-consuming than 2D, so it's quite likely that if they go Kickstarter, the Pathfinder CRPG will also be 2D.

Seeing what DIVINITY: ORIGINAL SIN has achieved on a comparable budget (possibly even lower) than PILLARS is interesting, although D:OS appears to have far fewer maps and its 3D is fairly limited.

Wasteland 2 is made by inXile (the same people doing the new Torment), not Obsidian. ;)

inXile and Obsidian are collaborating to some degree on both WASTELAND 2 and TIDES OF NUMENERA. inXile is actually making them, of course, but Obsidian's Chris Avellone has written character stories and quests for both games and NUMENERA is using PILLARS OF ETERNITY's engine. Both companies also arose from the wreckage of Black Isle and their people all worked together back in the day. Obsidian's Chris Avellone and Colin McComb from inXile (and formerly TSR) were the two main writers on PLANESCAPE: TORMENT, for example.

Both companies have also spoken about merging at some point, saying it would make sense but they're happy remaining independent but closely-allied for now.

The PS3 and XB360 have serious memory limitations which makes it difficult for them to have big environments. The Bethesda games and the likes of GTA5 have clever streaming and other ways of getting around it, but that's technically challenging and very expensive. Quite a few games go the THIEF route of simply having smaller areas but using a lot of verticality and limited routes to hide how small they are. DISHONORED did the same thing, but did a much better job of it, as did DE:HR (I think DE:HR also had hidden level loading bits).

I never encountered anything in NV as bad as some of the stuff in FO3, most notably the crash-happy, stopping-the-game-working stuff FO3 seemed to delight in throwing up from time to time, especially on the DLC. That said, I didn't play NV until a year or so after launch, whilst I played FO3 pretty much on release day.

The one bug I did regularly encounter on NV was that the game wouldn't load save games from the front screen. Which is actually kind of major until you realise you can just hit 'Start New Game' and then instantly hit Load when the gameworld loads up. Adds about 3 seconds to the load speed, so almost completely negligible.

To be fair, NWN2 when it first came out? It was awful dude.

Fair enough. It's still on my Steam list. I had friends who played it co-op the week it came out and they never reported any problems, and looking online it doesn't seem to have the same buggy reputation as NV and AP on release.

I'm assuming the colour coding is a reference to the way stealable items glint like miniature supernovae are going off (the game's way of saying, "YOU CAN STEAL THIS") or the map gets covered in handy-but-confusing markers. You can actually turn all of that stuff off.

I'm sure they'll do absolutely everything possible to avoid slipping it to January - from the estimates I've heard from ex-colleagues who went to work at game companies, missing the Christmas time frame would probably lose a game developer something like 50% of their sales.

What's nice about Kickstarter is that the game was pre-paid-for and essentially already profitable, so they're not quite as reliant on that. Still, you're right that they would get more sales if the game hits before Christmas. I think they'll probably make it, it's only August and the game is in beta and they probably don't need to spend quite as much time on balancing as multiplayer games do.

Mind you, that was also the thought on WASTELAND 2 and they've been in beta for quite a long time.

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all of their games are buggy as all hell.

Apart from SOUTH PARK: STICK OF TRUTH, DUNGEON SIEGE III and NEVERWINTER NIGHTS II and its multiple expansions (unless I'm missing something).

The bugs on the other games have all been pretty much fixed: ALPHA PROTOCOL is the only one that's still flaky, and even that's perfectly playable and completable.

Like, I thought Bethesda held the record for "Most bugs in a AAA title" until played New Vegas and I was like "WE HAVE A WINNER".

NEW VEGAS was fixed pretty quickly after release, to be fair, and now it's completely fine. Unlike FALLOUT 3, which is temperamental to get to work on Windows 7 and 8, which is ironic, especially given how reviewers didn't mention FALLOUT 3's many bugs on release but went to town on NV's (for reasons more throroughly explored in the other thread).

After playing through a few hours of the game (shortly after its release), I finally threw in the towel and left that pile of steaming rubbish to decompose without me. It's not just that they've changed the voice actor--they've changed the character.

This is actually intentional:

You're not actually playing Garret from the original game. You and Basso appear to be either descendants (with the same surnames) or freaky reincarnations of the original characters. The game itself is set hundreds of years after the original trilogy.

This is not immediately clear in the game until later on, when people start mentioning some of the other gangs and factions from the first games and how they've been gone for centuries.

There have been about 5 Babylon 5 movies already.

Low-budget TV/DVD movies. JMS is talking about a relatively big-budget theatrical release, minimum budget $80 million or twice what SERENITY had.

4 was where the balance of the budget was blown on and 5 never would have been built, if the Minbari hadn't decided to donate to the cause.

It always amuses me how much insanely bigger Babylon 4 (and 1-3 if they'd been finished) was than B5. It was 'only' half again longer but massively wider, so its volume was much greater than B5's.

Yup, TORMENT is still a good year away, maybe a little bit more. But WASTELAND 2 is next month, ELITE: DANGEROUS is likely October or November and PILLARS in November or December. I wouldn't be surprised to see it slip slightly to maybe January, but I doubt it'd be any more than that. In recent interviews it seems to be pretty much done and they're moving heavily into bug-squashing and optimisation.

Nikosandros wrote:
Pillars of Eternity is currently slated for last quarter 2015.

Not by Obsidian, who have it listed for Winter 2014. The game enters beta next week, it's not going to be in beta for a year.

Triphoppenskip wrote:

Hope the CRPG isn't in the too distant future. I'm not getting any younger :(

I suspect they will move onto it once PILLARS is done, so possibly entering production in early 2015. Likely they've got some pre-production done already (as that team is no longer needed once PILLARS enters the home stretch of development).

Possibility it'll be a Kickstarter funded thing: Ugh, really? Enough kickstarter. Do it or don't. "Give me money now and I'll give you something maybe, sorta acceptable in a couple years." Pushing the funding risk off on to the consumer trend needs to stop.

There's no publisher logo on the picture, so either Paizo and Obsidian haven't reached a deal with one yet or they will be going it alone to retain maximum creative freedom. In the latter case, they will almost certainly go with Kickstarter again. PATHFINDER's been successful, but probably not to the tune of the $4-5 million minimum even a PILLARS-style 2D RPG will need to develop, at least not easily.

I could see someone like Paradox coming on board to help distribute the game, though. They've got a fair bit of integrity for a publisher and are working with Obsidian on the physical release for PILLARS. But then Paradox also aren't that big a company either.

I should probably start saving up for a new desktop now. I figure mine won't have the oomph needed to run the Pathfinder CRPG when it does drop. But still I WANT IT NOW! Patience is not a virtue I possess.

I think the likelihood is that the CRPG will be a 2D-style game in the vein of PILLARS OF ETERNITY and inXile's TIDES OF NUMENERA, so it won't be that graphically demanding at all.

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Following on from the previous thread:

Obsidian have said that once they release PILLARS OF ETERNITY (by November at the latest, I think) they will be looking at another Kickstarter, potentially a licensed one, for early 2015. PATHFINDER would seem an ideal fit for that.

How is Obsidian's track record with Add-on content? I'm kind of tired of pay-once-then-keep-paying revenue models.

Obsidian's record with after-game support is pretty strong. Their expansions for NWN2 were arguably stronger than the base game and their NEW VEGAS DLC was amazing.

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Fallout New Vegas is generally considered far better than F3, from what I've gathered. Maybe just within the community that liked the older Fallout games though.

NV got worse reviews on release because Bethesda let it be known they wouldn't punish any magazine or website that gave NV negative reviews for bugs by pulling their advertising (whilst with FO3, OBLIVION and SKYRIM, all heavily bugged on release, they made it clear they would). This was because if NV sold a certain number of copies and got a high enough metacritic score, Bethesda would have to give Obsidian a substantial bonus (seven figures, apparently). NV hit the sales target with insane ease - it sold 5 million copies in its first month compared to FO3's 3 million and is Bethesda's second-biggest-selling game behind only SKYRIM - but missed the metacritic score by one point, so Obsidian didn't get their bonus and Bethesda saved a lot of money.

Ironically, NV is now all patched up and works fine whilst age has not been so kind to FO3, which can be very hit and miss on Windows 7 and 8 systems. Certainly in critical reappraisals, there seems to be a strong preference for NV over FO3, for the vastly superior writing, reactivity of the game, freedom of choice, consequences of decisions and the better companion characters (who are actually characters with their own storylines, motivations and goals, not just extra backpacks and guns), not to mention the much stronger DLC. The areas where FO3 is better than NV are very limited: FO3's opening hour or two are a lot better and newcomer-friendly (NV's opening town is dull as hell) and that's really about it.

And don't start with the publisher-excuse. That's old and worn out and it's something I will always, ALWAYS think of when I think Obsidian (Obsidian? The guys who are always blaming their publisher?)

Well, it's a matter of record that Obsidian were screwed over massively by Bethesda, and would have been worse if the studio arm of Bethesda hadn't protected them, and they were badly mistreated by Sega, who released a buggy beta build of ALPHA PROTOCOL after refusing to pay Obsidian to do the final game polish. OTOH, Obsidian's relationship with Atari (PILLARS OF ETERNITY started as an ICEWIND DALE III pitch to Atari which was turned down), Square Enix and Ubisoft appears to have been very good.

The awkward one was LucasArts, which seems to have been a misunderstanding: Obsidian asked for an extra 6-8 months to finish KotOR 2 and make it a bigger and better game and LucasArts said yes but didn't adjust the contract. LucasArts then checked their budget and saw they couldn't do it and said they needed to hit the original date, by which time Obsidian had already reset their production schedule, and had to scramble to cut out the extra stuff again and get the game out on time. Obsidian should really have gotten the deadline extension in writing before doing anything, but they decided to take things on trust instead.

they lost a lot of fans with dragon age 2. why they so radically changed there biggest selling game ever, I will never understand.

DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS was in development for over five years. BioWare have never said how much they spent on it, but it was certainly vastly more than they should have and it was only having other teams making other successful games in the meantime (JADE EMPIRE and the first MASS EFFECT) which prevented it from becoming a major financial drain. When EA took over they were apparently so aghast at what they saw had been spent that they demanded console versions of the game (despite BioWare's promise it would be PC-only) and also ordered a quickie sequel on a minimal budget and less than a year's production time which would help recoup the costs of the first game. This so upset DA:O's lead designer that he quit the company altogether.

Considering the circumstances it was made under, I quite liked DA2. They took a very bad deal and ran with it to make a reasonably entertaining (and, by BioWare's standards, somewhat experimental) game.

I own New Vegas on the PS3, and it damn near crippled the poor machine

That's the GameBryo/Creation engine and the problems it has with PS3 memory. The same thing happens on OBLIVION, FALLOUT 3 and SKYRIM if you play them for long enough. Eventually the PS3 can't cope with keeping track of all the changed states you put in the world (remembering where every fallen arrow and moved book is) and falls over and dies. The X-Box 360 version does the same thing, it just takes a lot longer.

Also, a development studio in my city is working on a digital Pathfinder project? How interesting.

Hey Scott, didn't you go to the Obsidian party for when they got the Kickstarter money for PoE?

The main game wasn't even Fallout anymore. It was 'sometimes after the whole thing',

Er, that is what FALLOUT is about. WASTELAND's vibe is more post-apocalyptic, but FALLOUT is post-post apocalyptic. It's been a long time since the nuclear war, the worst of the fallout and the battle for survival is over and people are starting to rebuild and reconstruct. FALLOUT 2, 3 and NV are all set 200+ years after the war, so an immediate post-apocalyptic society doesn't make any sense (and FO1, set 100 years after, still had society moving on). That's why FO3 is so weird, it looks like the bombs fell just a few weeks earlier and DC is all but still smouldering. 200 years after the fact, it should be pretty much all gone back to nature.

NEW VEGAS does much better with that vibe, with the only really questionable thing being if Hoover Dam should still be standing. But it is said several times that various factions have managed to keep the thing repaired and standing in the interim, which at least addresses the issue.

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