Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Texture Pop: Episode 31: Why Can't We Just Be Mage Bros

This week is an interesting recording session. Chris could not make it, because he has a new job. The rest of us, however, were more than able to make it. Since it was such a weird week, the podcast was posted pretty late. On behalf of the cast, I would like to apologize to you, the viewers.

0:00:50 Viewer Questions
"What do you think of Anita Sarkeesian's 8 point suggestions?"
Turns out I was wrong about when this came out, because I found an article talking about it as of the time of writing.
At the time of the recording, none of us saw this particular talk, so we tried to get away with discussing this in the general sense.
Now that I have read those points, I don't see the issue with any of them. They make logical sense and the problems they address are real problems.
One of the throughlines I see repeated in comments to these points, and other issues raised by Sarkeesian, is that they tend to think that she wants to apply these points to all games. That is not true. What she wants developers to consider these suggestions and try to incorporate them more often. I also want to point out that the only angry comments we have ever gotten on this show came from the one episode where we defended Anita Sarkeesian when GamerGate was still a thing people cared about.

"What games are you guys looking forward to in the next few months?"
I was pretty nervous when this game came up, because I honestly could not think of anything on the top of my head. We're still in this initial rut brought about by the dawn of new gaming consoles. As a result, the number of new titles, at least in the AAA space, that have my interest is small.

0:18:50 Gaming News
Steam Machines/Controller announcements
The thing about the Steam controller is that it is basically trying to make the keyboard and mouse more viable for a home theater setup. Honestly, I'm not sure how many game will benefit from such a device. Maybe it's just me, but I am fine with the idea of having a KB & M on my lap as I play.
As for the machines themselves, I'm not sure who the target market for them is. For most people, they are better off just upgrading their PCs and home theater setups at the price these machines cost. Even at the lower end, a gaming console is about as good and easier to add to whatever setup you have.

Maxis is shut down by EA.
I don't think anyone is surprised by this announcement, but to do this at the same time GDC is going on is a little painful. EA has been on people's shit list for a long time because of this behavior, so I doubt it will change.

0:27:10 I played a new little game called Hand of Fate.
I have slowly, gradually begun to love this little game. As an aspiring game designer, I think the way it combined so many different mechanics into a cohesive whole is brilliant. It's difficult to explain, but immediate obvious when you start to play and/or watch someone else play.
Just be warned that there are technical issues in the game. It's not perfect, but it's good.

0:35:35 I played Dragon Age 2.
I don't hate the game, but it does have its flaws.
The biggest problem is honestly the combat. I am getting so tired of all the waves and waves of enemies. What I would have done to improve the game is to give each enemy group a leader, with significantly higher stats than the others. Once the leader falls, than the other units will retreat.
Also, Carver and Anders are some of the most irritating people I've ever had in an RPG party. The game isn't the best thing I've ever played, but it's not bad. I can see how fans of Dragon Age could not like it.
I didn't mention it in the cast, but I had a huge problem at first because it felt like I was just doing nothing but sidequests. As the game went on, the game evolved from that, and I began to like it a lot more.

0:53:10 Sam tried a PS2 emulator.
And we had a pretty good conversation about old PS2 games, regional differences, and how different regions respond better or worse to different stimuli.
The Nier comparison shots of the Japanese vs. North American protagonist can be best show off with this image.

0:59:51 Sam got a PS4.
We kinda go rapid-fire through the games he purchases with it.
The other big discussion involves graphics and how technology is improving.

1:10:30 Sam played inFamous: Second Son.
I know we talked a lot about it when I played the games, but I was nice to talk with Sam about it, since he now has the experience that I have from playing.

1:30:30 Garrett talks about his week.
In this segment, we cover:

  • Five Nights at Freddy's 
  • League of Legends 
  • voice acting 
  • music 
  • Cards Against Humanity 
  • shoes 
  • Campbell's soup and other foods 
  • CSI 
  • Hotline Miami 2
  • alcohol
  • watching other people sleep on Skype?
  • consumption of meat

1:59:55 We talk about game engines.
The recent news that Unreal 4 and Source 2 will be free inspired this conversation. For guys like Garrett and myself, who are aspiring game designers, this is a huge boon.
We get into a side conversation about Watch_Dogs and how terrible it was.

2:13:30 Wrapping Up
My Outlast article is here.
Interactive Friction: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is here.

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