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Frost Giant

Werthead's page

1,831 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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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.

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.

It's important to note that JMS has raised $200 million for his Studio JMS project and is already working on other films and TV series (most notably SENSE8, his new collaboration with the Wachowskis). So this is actually probably going to happen. The previous attempts fell through due to funding, but JMS already has the means to fund it himself.

Whether it's a good idea or not is another matter. There's part of me wondering if JMS is doing this to get Warner Brothers on board so the film can lead into a TV series reboot, maybe done alongside someone like Netflix to give it the budget it really needs whilst also the time needed to make it work (and B5 might benefit, especially S1-2 and S5, from having only 10-13 episodes per seasons rather than 22). It would be weird for one of the first heavily-serialised TV shows which helped usher in our current 'golden age' of TV to ditch what made it great just to get some shinier VFX.

Ultradan wrote:

Not really a story issue but...

Babylon 5... The way that at the end of it's run, they kept switching days and time slots of the show without much notice, then said that they cancelled the show because of bad ratings... lol... It was playing on Tuesday nights around 12:20am at one point!! Ugh!


They always planned to finish with Season 5. The difference was the 'main' story finishing in Season 4 early due to the threat of cancellation and then more filler being introduced into early Season 5 to make up for it. But the general ending and the final episode were all planned a couple of years earlier.

Still I loved the series, I wish we could have seen the entire shadow war plot stretched through the 5th season as originally planned.

The Shadow War was always going to end in Season 4. In JMS's original plan, the Shadow War would have probably ended somewhere around Episode 10-11, with a couple more battles and a few more elements stretched out (Garibaldi wouldn't have been so easy to find, IIRC), and then the war for Earth would have begun. Season 4 was originally supposed to end with the episode where Sheridan is interrogated non-stop for 44 minutes and ended on that note.

The big change in Season 5 was that the battle for Earth would have been in the first ten episodes, the telepath crisis would have been two or three episodes at most and then they'd have straight been into the Centauri conflict. Season 5 would certainly have benefited from that.

What ever happened to Mr. Straczynski anyhow?

JMS has written several comic book series and movies, and is now the co-showrunner and co-writer of the Wachowskis' new TV series, SENSE8, which is currently filming.

Melee works, but only if you really focus on it to the exclusion of everything else (most other character types you can divide into two focuses, like stealth/archer, but diverting attention from pure melee to anything else seems to just gimp melee). It also doesn't really fit in with the ethos of using the environment or terraforming the environment mid-battle with magic, since then you're just going to splatter your melee character with the enemy.

I use my archer to soften up the enemy at range (and Ricochet to deal out multiple hits) whilst my main mage slows them with oil slicks and then blows up said oil slick with fire (which can also slow them down), then my secondary mage (Jahan) shocks them with lightning. For fire-based enemies I switch to a Rain/Lightning combo which has the same effect, or just free them. Medora I keep in reserve for when the enemies reach the party, which hopefully is rarely. Also having her stand out front means she acts like a damage soak, with potions and the two mages able to keep her going.

The toughness of this game cannot be overestimated. It's suggested that you do everything you can in town before leaving (they recommend getting to Level 3, but at 3 this only reduces the threats outside town to 'rage-inducingly difficult' than 'totally impossible') and they are not kidding. Killing two zombies (named 'Rob' and 'Zombie') within sight of the town gates with four characters was a bit touch-and-go, and dealing with five orcs at once a bit up the beach (one of them a shaman) is still apparently beyond my party's ability. Instead have plundered the town cemetary and descended into the lesser-undead-infested catacombs underneath, which are more manageable.

I also encountered a dog whose owner had died and he was sitting next to the grave Greyfriars Bobby-style. However, when I talked to him the dog reported this wasn't out of dumb loyalty but because the smell from the grave is wrong. It turns out the original body has been stolen and replaced with a sheep corpse! A fresh mystery and quest awaits!

Oh yeah, in other news I found a mystical stone that opens the gateways between universes and has given me access to an interdimensional base of operations from where I can commune with a woman representing the entire tapestry of time and history, who has suggested that my characters are the reincarnations of once-powerful guardians of all of creation and it is our destiny to seal off the Void that is threatening to consume everything. But whatever, I'm still trying to help out the cat romance thing and now this dog quest has come up as well.

Definitely get the Pet Pal talent, the game is so much more fun with it. I found a clairvoyant bull ("Bull") who could foretell the future but when I asked what my future held, it screamed and tried to run off. It's friend ("Bill") helped him get over the shock and advised I give him time to recover.

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Been doing odd jobs in Cyseal, got another level in and recruited my two NPC party members. My current quest is trying to set up the inn's tomcat and the mayor's rare-breed feline who are desperately in love but tragically divided by class inequality.

Also saving the world from a gateway to oblivion that is threatening to destroy the universe, but the cat thing is my top priority at the moment.

Encountered a sentient clam on the shores of the sea.

"Call me Ishamashell..."

I booted it into the sea.

Game of the Year.

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I've printed out this guide from Kotaku (it's 11 A4 pages with the images and comments taken out). It's not quite as hardcore as some of the guides out there and covers the bases without spoiling everything.

The game has that thing that XCOM has of almost encouraging you to mess up first time out to learn more stuff for your 'proper' playthrough. Which is great if you have 200 hours to spare on the game, not so much if you don't. The Kotaku guide is useful for pointing out basic things so you don't completely gimp your party to the point of unplayability before the game even starts (which is quite possible without any advice). For example, you can pick up a tank character and a water/air mage pretty quickly in the game, so the Kotaku writer focused on an earth/fire mage who doubles as the main party spokesperson and trader, and a sneak-oriented bowman and crafter as their primaries.

Crafting seems to be vitally important, as your equipment degrades in the game (bows more than anything else). Being able to fix stuff is vital. It's also a great idea to find a spade ASAP as a lot of loot is buried and the game is ridiculously frugal with spades later on. It's also a good idea to get the invisibility stealth skill for the aforementioned painting thefts and the Pet Pal skill to talk to the animals. This sounds bizarre, but apparently there's a ton of side-quests and potential ways to finish other quests by talking to animals and getting them on your side. It's also hilarious.

It's also worth noting that the game's UI is rather unintuitive. Each character actually has 3 hotbars. There's tiny little arrows to the left of each hotbar which cycles through them. Also, you inventory is bigger than you think and scrollbars will appear when you reach the bottom of the grid. You can also press 'Alt' to highlight usable things on the screen (a bit like Ctrl in the Infinity Engine games) which can be quite useful.

Important safety tip: blood conducts electricity. So if a fight's been going on for a while and everyone's splattered with blood, letting off a lightning bolt is a really bad idea.

This is a weird idea. Harmony Gold are way past their glory days, but you'd assume they could still raise the funds to do this themselves. Asking the fans to do it seems a bit cheap of them. If they can't get the interest to do it privately, maybe it's because ROBOTECH's time has passed?

The miniatures wargame Kickstarter at least made more sense because it was by a small company and was a massive initial outlay. This, not so much.

Miller is 48 and Thomas Jane is 45, so it does work out. A lot of the publicity pictures the websites are using are from when he was in PUNISHER, which was over a decade ago, or HUNG, which was half a decade ago. He looks suitably more grizzled now.

PACIFIC RIM 2 will be released on 7 April, 2017. There will also be an animated spin-off series.

The Producers said they cut the LS storyline because they don't know what to do with it yet.

I believe there's still some discussion about what's going on with it, which is why they couldn't tell the director what was happening.

The current theories are:

LS, along with the ironborn storyline, may be dependent on the show going seven or eight seasons. In the case of eight, LS can be included and the ironborn plot can also appeared, although likely in a truncated form (as the Dorne plot sounds like it will appear in a more restrained form). In the case of seven, LS and the ironborn can be dropped altogether, maybe with a briefer storyline focusing on Yara and not bringing in Euron and Victarion (Balon presumably must still die due to the leeching scene, though).

I suspect harder discussions on that are happening now, with everyone leaning towards seven as the magic number due to recent comments.

The only problem with all of this is that without LS, Brienne's storyline for next year would seem to be lacking a decent ending, unless they decide to make stuff up out of thin air.

Each of the 3 LotR novels is substantially less than 200K words long (187K, 155K, and 131K, respectively).

LotR is one novel but originally published in three volumes due to the cost of paper in the UK post-war. But it was written and executed as one book and only divided into volumes long after completion.

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Rynjin wrote:

It's not longer than any of his contemporaries.

Er, they are, by a fair bit. The only fantasy novels published in the last decade to come even close are THE WISE MAN'S FEAR and WORDS OF RADIANCE, and even they are 20-30,000 words shorter.

The only fantasy novels in existence that are longer than the longest ASoIaF books are LotR and Tad Williams' TO GREEN ANGEL TOWER.

I'm of the opinion that if Robert Jordan can put out a novel every 2 years or so, of similar length (if not more!) on his deathbed, GRRM should be able to do it given 3-4 at least.

RJ's longest novel was THE SHADOW RISING, which was still 40,000 words shorter than A STORM OF SWORDS or A DANCE OF DRAGONS, and written a long time before RJ died. RJ was getting up to 2-3 years each for his last four books, each of which was around 250-320,000 words. And, much as I enjoyed TWoT, let's not kid ourselves those books compare even to GRRM's last two books.

Also, RJ never wrote a book on his deathbed. He was diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis after Book 11 - his last one - came out and after some very early work on the next book had been done. He spend time writing notes and outlines, but not much actual fiction.

And I'm quite certain Tolkien wouldn't have taken ten years on LotR if he'd had a computer.

The primary reason for Tolkien taking that long was his infamous procrastination, self-doubt and not touching the manuscript for months (and at one point a year) at a time. He may have written a bit faster with a computer, but that was not the primary cause of the delay.

At least they were COMPLETE, and bad, instead of HALF FINISHED and bad.

Incorrect. Books 8 and 9 were supposed to be one book, and 10 and 11 were supposed to be another. RJ kept splitting them up rather than delete the inconsequential filler chapters (which in the case of Book 10 was pretty much the entire novel).

Also, whilst AFFC and ADWD have issues, they are in no way comparable to the problems Jordan had. Even AFFC's most tepid chapters tower most convicingly over the finest moments from PATH OF DAGGERS or CROSSROADS OF TWILIGHT in terms of characterisation and thematic development (even if plot progress was not as strong as might be wished).

Raise the difficulty buddy.

The poor hub design changes if you raise the difficulty level? I can only imagine that doing that would make the combat even worse than it already is, which the game definitely doesn't need.

It's Harry in the books, and he only has a claim to the Vale, not the whole Seven Kingdoms. And yes, it's likely Harry won't be in the TV show at all and they'll simply use the idea of a Sansa-Robin betrothal instead.

The fact of the matter is, he has an obligation as a PERSON, not a writer, to keep to his promises. If you can't keep a promise, don't MAKE a promise.

It's worth noting that at no point, ever, did GRRM 'promise' to deliver the fifth book a year after the fourth. Even in the afterword he says it's a hope, as the fifth book is "nowhere near done." People read a bit more into that than the author ever intended.

I also find it bemusing that an author taking five years to write books that are five times longer than the average novel (80-100,000 words) is in any way controversial. It may be worthwhile criticising the author for not planning things better to have tighter novels, or for being overly optimistic when the situation behind closed doors is not great (certainly the case on ADWD, especially in the first couple of years), but raging at someone for not being able to churn out 420,000+ words in a few months is quite unrealistic. ADWD is almost as long as LotR in its entirety, and it took Tolkien 10 years to write (and 17 to produce in total) that novel.

Playing THIEF right now. On Chapter 3, so less than halfway through the game.

Initial thoughts:

Contextual jumping works okay but needs more signposting: it's often very unclear when you can jump and when you can't. It's also a bit random on what walls you can jump up and which you can't. It makes navigating the city a bit of a nightmare. In fact, getting across the city is a pain in the backside. The hub area is very, very small but they confuse the geography so much that it takes ages (and often traversing people's homes) to get anywhere. This puts me off doing the side-missions as traipsing around the hub just isn't any fun.

Generally, the stealth is well-done and the relatively high cost of supplies encourages you to steal everything in sight. I also like it that if Garrett spots some sweet loot he'll forget above everything else to grab it (and grumble if you leave without it), which reminds you that he is just an opportunist at heart. Combat is awful, which is just as well as it encourages you to avoid it.

The atmosphere and setting leave a lot to be desired. Is it steampunk or not? Clockwork robots, explosives and gas lights say yes, but no guns (at least so far), swords and coshes everywhere and the general level of peasantry seem to say no. The story is also poor and so far the characters have been absolutely non-existent.

Almost every moment of playing the game has been accompanied by me thinking that it's an inferior knock-off of DISHONORED, which given that the original THIEF games inspired DISHONORED is definitely not right.

So far, it's okay but needs to step it up a little bit and give me more of a reason for caring about what's going on.

An article I wrote for Gollancz (who are publishing the ELITE: DANGEROUS tie-in books) about the dangers of docking in the original game.

Syrio Forel was more inspired by Montoya, but Oberyn's catchesism was a bit of a reference as well. Martin is a PRINCESS BRIDE fan.

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There could be another one on its way: a LOCKE LAMORA TV show in the works.

This would be based on the GENTLEMAN BASTARD series of novels by Scott Lynch, which are very, very good. They're about a group of rogues and con-men (and women) operating on a world littered with the crystal ruins of a long-vanished alien species. Magic is extremely difficult to make work and there's a larger socio-political crisis unfolding in the background that will lead to civil war.

No word on network or timescale, but Ryan Condal (who recently adapted the weird west comic THE SIXTH GUN for NBC as a pilot, before they passed on it) is writing the script.

LOCKE LAMORA TV show in the works.

It's also looking like THORN OF EMBERLAIN is going to be delayed (not the biggest surprise in the world), but right now only to March or so.

There's nothing that bounces a new customer away like staring at a bookshelf full of incompatible books that all say "Dungeons and Dragons" with no visible indication which ones will be a waste of their $50.

The recent books are edition-agnostic and (theoretically) can be used with 5E, so that shouldn't be a problem. WotC will also likely have big standee things at first for just the 5E stuff. They'll likely encourage retailers with back-stock of older editions to put them in a different area as well. I know they did with my local game store when both 3E and 4E came out. Everything else went back to WotC or onto the bargain shelves.

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