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Steve the Pocket

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  1. Also, that business with the clones' behavior reminds me of a short story I read (maybe a creepypasta?) about a video game with self-learning AI. The longer the player played, the more it learned his techniques and figured out the ideal way to counter them, until it became nigh-unbeatable. And when the player managed to beat it anyway, it realized its best chance of survival was to just crash the game and prevent them from booting it up anymore. Cool story. Lousy design doc.
  2. My computer's too much of a potato to run anything this nice-looking at any setting, but I know where Ross is coming from when it comes to anti-aliasing. There are some games I can tolerate without any at all, and some I can't, and I think the difference comes down to a combination of polygon counts and hard edges. With a lot of seventh-gen games like BioShock, for example, most high-poly models (e.g. your own hand and the weapon it's holding) have had all the fine detail and sharpness baked down into normal maps, leaving the meshes as amorphous blobs with no hard edges. So the only place you can see any jagged edges is on the outer fringe of the model. Whereas with Source games, they put almost all the geometric detail into the mesh, and used normal maps pretty sparingly, so you see jaggies all over the place if you don't have AA on. I think something similar is happening here, particularly when it comes to far-away objects. Ideally, those high-detail railings would eventually fade into flat surfaces with transparent textures mimicking the detail, and then the texture filtering would take over the job of keeping it smooth. (Or maybe that's already what's happening, and Unreal 4 doesn't apply AA settings to alphatest textures. That happens a lot.) And the shimmering floors ought to have been baked down into normal maps entirely, with parallax mapping and tessellation being used to make them look more 3D up close, and I guess they didn't do that? Based on one of the comments someone made about performance, it wouldn't surprise me if this game had little to no work done on LOD optimization at all.
  3. Considering this is the last time he encounters any that are necessarily looking for him specifically (all the rest are targeting rebel outposts or just guarding their own), there's no reason this can't be canon.
  4. That thing was cool. I miss it. Why the hell did they have to go and get rid of it anyway. Get bent, whoever decided that.
  5. The last time I checked, Apple does require a computer or iThingy that has at some point been connected to your iTunes account in order to play your video content. I don't know if that's pointed out in the suit or not, but I hope it is. It's probably the most relevant piece of information. Also the last time I checked, if you bought a movie and it was later de-listed from sale, it was also unavailable for re-downloading, which is in stark contrast to how Steam has always worked. And while we can argue about buyers' responsibilities (I've used a similar analogy to your chair thing with people who think the copy protection on Blu-Rays and console game discs violates some inherent right to make backups)... we're talking about Apple, a company with more than enough resources to keep a copy of every single thing they've ever offered. Hell, Apple even holds onto old versions of iOS apps so people can download them if their devices are too old to be compatible with the new ones anymore. (I haven't owned one long enough to have firsthand experience with this. Just going off what I've heard.) I don't think it's too much to ask that they allow people to re-download the things they "bought" for as long as the service continues to exist. There's a difference between speculating that Apple might at some future point restrict access to their products and extant cases where they already have. (Also, those two things might intersect? Like, maybe even if you already downloaded a movie that's been delisted, if you want to transfer it to a new machine, iTunes won't validate it anymore? I'll need people to weigh in with their personal experiences on this.) The real problem here, I think, is that Apple's hands are likely tied with regards to both these things. The entertainment industry demanded those limitations in exchange for licensing their products for "sale". If the suit doesn't name any of them as defendants, then Apple is going to get squeezed from both ends. The entertainment companies aren't going to accept "A judge is making me change my policies" as a reason to change theirs. We'll probably just see iTunes get shut down entirely instead. I can't imagine it's still making that much money for Apple or the content distributors now that everyone's all about streaming.
  6. With all the comparisons to Half-Life, I'm surprised you didn't point out how similar the two games' dam levels are. You start off by destroying a helicopter, it's got that little outbuilding on a tower, and you even showed Blade diving into the water and encountering a pair of water monsters. Also, are all the issues you had with this game present in the current digital version, or do you insist on only using your original vintage copy when you have one? I'm impressed that the draw distance of the props actually is adjustable. I know for a fact that in Source games, it's something you hard-code into the map file. Maybe there's an obscure console command to disable fading entirely, but I'm not aware of it.
  7. "Corn" was just what they called grain back then. It still checks out. If anything, it's weird that Americans were like "'Maize', huh? Nah, we'll just call it 'corn'. And also we'll stop using 'corn' to refer to anything else ever again. Except peppercorn."
  8. By the way, I forgot to mention—when you brought up the multiple times the "hero" does something cruel to an NPC in order to progress, I was reminded of the game Limbo of the Lost. It's a point-and-click adventure game from 2008 that looks more like it was made in 1994, and several times you end up doing horrible things to innocent people—sometimes leaving them horribly and, as far as we can tell, permanently disfigured—because that was the developer's idea of a joke. And every time he just shrugs it off. What makes it doubly jarring is that your character isn't otherwise portrayed as a remorseless bastard; he's just a put-upon everyman who's a little more jaded than he ought to be. And on that note, Limbo of the Lost seems like it would be yet another great candidate for a Game Dungeon episode. I'm not going to spoil anything else about it. It really is the kind of thing you have to experience for yourself.
  9. This game in summary: "Problems problems problems problems problems problems problems problems..." Also, I recognized the bold font they used for the titles of the levels (on the screens where they give introduce and describe them) and in the end credits. It's the same one that's used for like every virtual online collectable card game ever, isn't it?
  10. If it's just a matter of getting smoother camera for the video, isn't there a way to do that in the demo recorder? Or is Ross not using that anymore and just recording straight off a capture?
  11. I doubt any platform holder goes around strongarming publishers into porting specific games to their platform with threats to withhold certification on other games. Least of all PlayStation in 2004, which was already the platform every game in the universe was made for or ported to because of its epic install base. That would be the pettiest thing anyone could ever possibly do.
  12. OK, this left me with a lot of things to talk about, so going down the list: First off, I didn't even know this game existed. I mean, I had heard the name in passing, but I never knew anything about it, including when it came out. I never realized there even was a console Sonic game made between Adventure 2 and 2006, which I'd heard people nickname "Sonic Adventure 3". So I wonder what that makes this. You mentioned the game occasionally continuing to accept input during what's supposed to be a scripted sequence. 2006 had that problem too, in a big way, and it's interesting to learn that it was an ongoing issue that Sonic Team struggled with. Same with camera changes that send you flying off in a direction that was correct before the camera changed. Crisis City was especially bad with that. I'm interested in hearing from people who worked on other platformers and what they did to get around this issue. My theory is that you'd want to not just temporarily ignore the inputs and let the character coast on momentum, but then continue ignoring the input until the stick is shifted to a significantly different angle, similar to how "flick stick" differentiates a flick from a turn. On skyboxes: This is cheap, but if nothing else works, you might consider upscaling them and then running them through a lens blur filter, to hide the crust and make it look like the product of limited depth of field? By the way, what control scheme were you playing this with? The HUD suggests the existence of a Z button, which I've never seen on any controller other than the GameCube. And I feel like the GameCube version would have made X and Y actually look like the kidney bean shapes that it had. On the subject of Tails flying: Physics violations of the attachment points aside, can we talk about how that's just not how helicopters work? Seriously, there's a reason they have a sideways propeller on the tail that's always spinning: because otherwise, the whole helicopter would be. You can also get around this by having two or more rotors that spin in opposite directions, like Chinooks and quadcopters. The turret drones in BioShock have two opposing rotors mounted on the same stalk, which might be possible if you had one post inside a hollow one separated by bearings. Someone'll have to check the engineering on that one. On Shadow: I think he would work better if they intentionally wrote him as someone who's trying too hard to be cool. And maybe played up the rivalry with Sonic more—basically making him a Gary Oak with delusions of gothhood. Dark Pit in Kid Icarus: Uprising is a good example of how that dynamic could work, and I think one of the writers for that game said they specifically were trying to parody Shadow. And finally, the True Ending: That's an insane amount of hoops to jump through to unlock that looks like a significant amount of content. People complained about Sonic 2006 making you play through all three stories to reach the end chapter, but at least the gameplay was different enough that you're not just playing the same game three times, there's a story that unfolds as you play from different perspectives, and I take it this is your way of saying you tried OBS and it has problems? I guarantee that if a game this old looked fine in widescreen, it was by accident. Attaching individual HUD elements to opposite corners tends to be the easier solution, not something you do because you're trying to be forward compatible. Also, yes, they probably did use Flash. It's vector-based and therefore infinitely scalable; more recent games disguise it by calling it "Scaleform", but it's pretty close to an industry standard.
  13. I think you just answered your own question. The DOS version is the original, unaltered, for people who want the 100% authentic experience even if it means having to run it in an emulator or on a retro rig. Nitemare 3D did the same thing when it was ported to Windows—which is the only reason it's still possible to run it on a modern system at all, since the Windows version is 16-bit.
  14. Yeah, but those are wild animals with natural life expectancies of less than a decade. They could all be getting cancer and dying at age five and we'd never even know. A better example, I think, would be Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Both started rebuilding within a decade of getting nuked, and both are thriving cities that are perfectly safe to live in today. And while a hydrogen bomb is likely to leave nothing but a massive crater its immediate wake, I've been told it leaves no more fallout behind than a WWII-class fission bomb—and even that's only because it actually contains a fission bomb used to trigger the fusion reaction.
  15. OK, but at what point are you just calling for a cap on the level of complexity that technology is allowed to have? You're all but saying that nothing more advanced than what was available in, roughly, the '90s should ever be allowed to be made. And it puts me in mind of the stuff I've read about that infamous East German car, the Trabant. From what I've been able to glean, a lot of the tech behind it was pretty standard at the time it was first introduced (compared to other basic people-movers like the 2CV or the Fiat 500), and was simple enough that the average owner could indeed fix pretty much anything wrong with it with basic tools. And they had to, since it was hard enough to get ahold of in the first place, let alone replace, and the manufacturing quality was what you'd expect from a communist country where the workers had bulletproof job security. But what really hurt it was a refusal to evolve with the times. By 1989 it was still running on the same engine designed in the 1950s. Even by this point, it would have been illegal to sell new in the US due to environmental regulations, as the thing had no pollution control and burned a fifth as much motor oil as gasoline, by design. Can the average person repair a catalytic converter by hand? Probably not. What about an electric drivetrain? A hydrogen fuel cell? Our ability to continue existing as a species hinges on having access to some pretty advanced tech that's beyond the scope of the average person's expertise. So you have to draw a line somewhere.
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