Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Texture Pop: Episode 23: Big White Balls

This episode was... interesting. In hindsight, a lot of us were just really tired when recording it. Hell, Sam had just gotten home from work when he got on, so he was spent. Still, I think we did a decent job with this one.

I need to work more on my hosting, though. And my incessant need to keep rambling on about nothing. I swear these things wouldn't last two hours if I could reign myself in.

0:00:00 Introduction
Pretty simple intro.

0:00:50 Viewer Question
"What would be some of your favorite art design in games?"
It was a tough question to answer, because the stock answers are usually Okami and Vanillaware games. They are the poster children for how art style can make games look fantastic.

I feel like we all did well in answering this question, despite not having those freebees. In retrospect, I would also like to mention the art style of Supergiant Games, known for Bastion and Transistor. They were not just great in terms of soundtrack, but they're both very beautiful games.

0:05:40 Gaming News
We already kinda talked about it last week, so I have nothing further to add.

This is really only news because Square-Enix isn't known for being timely about releases. Fans like myself are accustomed to waiting for years after a game's announcement.

It's honestly about time this happens, if it is indeed the case. Honestly, I don't think that model even works anymore. WoW and EVE can cost by on legacy subscriptions and brand recognition, but newer MMOs don't have that luxury.

This makes more sense than the old plan they had. However, for the reasons we discussed in the episode (like lack of demand, strong competition, and poor infrastructure), I still don't think it has a chance to succeed.

The PSP had such potential, but it only got a very limited catalog in its lifespan.

I'll let Garrett explain it. League of Legends stuff goes straight over my head. X_X

I will say, that I would love to learn more about the process behind how the developers of games like League work on patches and updates, from identifying problems and things that could be worked on, to figuring out what can be feasibly done to fix the problem, to actually implementing the fix.

0:31:00 Garrett got Minecraft working on his computer
I think the biggest takeaway from this discussion is how amazing it is the Minecraft runs on Java, and such a primitive version of it at that. As someone who studies Computer Science, I would never program a game, especially one that large, in Java. It's easy to program, sure. However, it is so slow because of the way it handles memory and garbage collection. This is why most game developers just C++ (or an engine built on C++).

0:35:32 Garrett played more League of Legends
Sam is always saying that the reason the LoL player-based is so toxic is because a single match takes way too damn long. I think there's truth to that, especially after hearing Garrett's stories.
People take their video games WAY too seriously.

0:38:35 Garrett, Chris, and I talk about college.
A lot of people will tell you that you need to work super hard in college to get a 4.0, so that people will recognize you. That mentality will destroy your mental health in college. Just go for a B instead. For me, it gives me enough wiggle room to do things like this podcast and my blog, while allotting enough time to do my work.
Since I'm in my final semester before I get a Bachelor's Degree, I take this time to dispense college advise to people starting out.

0:51:20 Sam talks about The Song of Saya.
And dear god, does it sound creepy. I've not much more to say about it.

1:05:09 Sam got an Xbox One and talks about controllers.
I do like how both Sony and Microsoft dramatically improved their controllers, compared to previous generations. I can't speak to the Xbox One, but Sony's controller for the PS4 just feels so much better in your hands.

1:06:30 Sam played some Persona 4 Ultimax (with me)
And he uses Marie, which I can't use.
Sam also inundates us with anime stuff.

1:09:05 Sam played Valiant Hearts
I wish I had more to say about it, but I've yet to play the game myself.

1:12:45 Garrett brings up the Steam sale
And pretty much everyone agreed that the sale was pretty sad. The sales were pitiful, and the games I did want didn't go on sale for deep enough discounts to buy.

1:14:50 We discuss Awesome Games Done Quick again.
One of the things I find most fascinating about watching speed-runs is that said runs do a fantastic job revealing the many glitches and exploits in the games we play. These help guys like me better understand exactly how many of the features seen in the games we play are implemented. It's very interesting.

1:23:10 Chris has been playing more Destiny.
Every single time, we mention Destiny. It's truly amazing.
Not as amazing as how empty Destiny is, but amazing nonetheless. But you already know about all of that.

1:35:04 Chris has a rant about next-gen and the Wii U.
Really, just listen to it. It speaks for itself.
We also take the time to discuss the state of affairs for each of the major consoles out right now, compared to their predecessors at around this time last generation.

1:45:05 I mention Interactive Friction.
It's the new project that Sam and I are doing. The first post is here, so check it out.

1:47:25 I played Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix, via the 2.5 HD ReMIX.
And it feels so much more comfortable to play this on a big screen, using a PS3 controller, than on a PSP.

We also take this chance to discuss Kingdom Hearts lore. The problem with Kingdom Hearts lore isn't that it's hard to understand. It isn't. The problem is that there is too much of it. There is so many plot details to memorize, that fully understanding the lore involves tons of memorization. Furthermore, there are details that aren't in the games, but it outside source material. As a result, it is damn near required to read a wiki to keep track of everything. Dream Drop Distance does well by including summaries of the stories to every other Kingdom Hearts game before it. I wrote an article about lore in Kingdom Hearts 2 as well, which you should check out.

Then, I discuss the terrible mini-games this game has. Kingdom Hearts has always had the problems where most of the mini-games just simply aren't fun. Birth by Sleep continued that trend.

Lastly, the video on the Kingdom Hearts lore I mentioned, by GameTrailers, is here.

2:08:30 Wrapping Up
Good night, guys.

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