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Steve the Pocket

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Everything posted by Steve the Pocket

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. By the way, something else I forgot to mention: That bit about Skylords Reborn still making you beholden to somebody else who may or may not choose to continue maintaining it reminds me of the kind of crap I've had to deal with many times in the Team Fortress 2 mapping community. We've become reliant on a number of third-party tools to fill the (significant and kind of pathetic) gaps in our toolset, from exporting custom textures and models to improving the compiling process. And multiple times now, one or more of those tools has been broken by an update to the game or the existing tools, and lo and behold, there's nothing anyone can do because the creator had stopped maintaining it. That's why I'm a big proponent of open source now, and why my philosophy is "Don't make yourself indispensable unless you've discovered the secret to immortality."
  7. Won't platform holders just get around this by outright buying the publication rights to any game they want exclusivity on? Because it's one thing to ban them from cutting deals, but it's another thing to force them to port what is legally their own game to a competitor's platform. In fact, I'd say the vast majority of the time a game is exclusive to a single console platform even now, it's because that's exactly what the platform holder did.
  8. I'm surprised that the talk of Microsoft going back to releasing games on PC didn't mention that many of them are even being released on Steam. If nothing else, it's a sign that any plans of turning Windows into a walled garden are getting kicked down the road. As far as console exclusives go, I'm ambivalent on the subject and definitely don't think it should be illegal. I mean, what, are you going to make it legally mandatory that every game be ported to at least a second platform in order to be allowed to exist? And that's assuming that two is enough, and I don't see why it should be. Every game is exclusive; some are just exclusive to fewer platforms than others. You practically never hear anyone complain when a game is available on both Xbox and PlayStation but nothing else, or even if it's only on Windows as long as you can get it on Steam. Funny thing, that. Mind you, I'd love it if platforms period could somehow become a thing of the past—similar to how music standardized on Red Book standard CDs—and we could do it in a way that doesn't entail giving one company an official, complete monopoly on gaming. I have no clue how that would ever work, though. You'd just about have to have some kind of Bolshevik revolution that instates Linux as the official state OS and commissions emulators for all the now-defunct capitalist platforms. And I suspect any state with that kind of power would be more interested in erasing the past then preserving it.
  9. Hey everyone. So, if you haven't heard, the game's done now. Out of beta and everything. I've only made it partway through the first Xen chapter, out of who knows how much more game there is afterward, and holy shit you guys. Those super-amazing screenshots really were just a teaser. They saved all the best stuff for the game itself. That is all.
  10. Would it be too cliché to suggest LSD: Dream Emulator? It's already been featured on a number of YouTube channels in some form or another, which is why I know about it. It's not really a game, per se; you might say it's one of the world's first walking simulators. You wander through a series of randomly-chosen environments supposedly inspired by the creator's actual dream diary, and you move on to the next one when you either walk into something or fall off a cliff. And there's a Political Compass type thing keeping track of whether your dreams so far have leaned towards positive or negative, and active or passive. It's... weird. You can probably find more thorough documentation on how it works than I'm providing, but that's all I've been able to glean. And speaking of walking simulators, I can't believe I forgot about this one: Jazzpunk. If you grew up with the Living Books series, this will probably feel like a cross between a modern-style puzzle/adventure game, a walking simulator, and those. Specifically in how you can interact with stuff that has nothing to do with the plot to make funny stuff happen. The theme, as the name suggests, is basically cyberpunk as it might have been interpreted by a time traveler from the 1950s. The walking simulator part comes into play with how straightforward and obvious the path to progress is; you're expected to get sidetracked constantly and interact with every single thing if you want to get the most out of the experience. It might be too recent of a non-dead game to deserve a spot on the show, as it came out in 2014.
  11. In case anyone is curious about the ratings, here's what the levels are supposed to mean. It's a toss up whether they even followed their own guidelines or not, depending on what they mean by "explicit". That's always been a confusing term to me. Does it mean showing things that could only be acted out with real humans if real penetration was going on? That's what "explicit" means to me. Anything they could fake with strategic camera angles would by definition have to be implied. Meanwhile, their highest rating for violence requires "torture", which... I'm pretty sure some of the scenes in this game qualify. Though it's good to know that by these standards, Grand Theft Auto V would have been given the highest possible rating for violence, no question. I always felt that torture scene should have been an instant AO. The ESRB is the industry's bitch. I dunno, once we get into "literally everything that happened was all in a character's head" territory, it becomes a question of whether that's any less real than it already is by virtue of being a work of fiction. I have the same problem with stuff like the ending to St. Elsewhere.
  12. But they had to test the game, surely, if only to make sure it actually runs all the way through. You'd think someone would have noticed a bug report called "That one enemy in level 3 takes over 100 hits to kill; you sure you didn't hit '0' too many times, boss?"
  13. People in the YouTube comments are saying Ross must be using a copy that triggered some kind of copy protection. They were guessing that he was running off a backup, or a download, but I think something even more insidious might be going on: The legitimate version of the game had a mandatory online activation that it didn't even tell you about, or was at least programmed not to tell you if activation failed. Batman: Arkham Asylum apparently worked that way; if the SecuROM online check failed, you were still allowed to play the game as if nothing was wrong but the cape-glide wouldn't work, making it impossible to continue past a certain point. That would explain why the developers put the whole game up for free: The servers had gone down, they had no control over it, but they still owned the rights to the game and figured they'd throw the fans a bone.
  14. Interesting! Most if not all of those map changes I would, again, put down to having to recompile map lighting every time they update something, and not having any standardized settings (which, by this point, they really should have; their internal structure was guaranteed to mean lots of turnover in any given game's team, so documenting "how we do things 'round here" for consistency's sake should have been a given). One other thing I found interesting is that both versions of the grenade launcher feature fully-modeled bolts, whereas for most of the years I've been playing, it did not. To the point where, when they updated the model to include them, I almost immediately noticed. They must have been removed very early on, and I bet that's when most of the downgrades in this video happened. Finally, they show actual real-time ripples being created when water is shot. I... wasn't aware the Source engine could even do that and now I'm wondering how. And why no subsequent games, even single-player ones, have had that feature. Maybe it was patched out for being glitchy and unreliable?
  15. You say you've never heard of a game release an update that makes some of the graphics worse than before? How about Half-Life 2? In 2010 they finally ported it over to the Orange Box engine, added the HDR that was already present in the console ports, and swapped out the named NPCs' models with the phong-shaded ones that, again, were already in the console ports. And also messed up the lighting in some places. Though at least in this case, I know how it happened. They had to recompile all the maps in order to add HDR, which meant rebuilding all the baked-in lighting, and they must have accidentally not used the best possible settings. But removing a whole dynamic-lighting feature? That doesn't feel like an accident. The best I can suggest is that maybe they discovered it broke one of the expansions during testing and couldn't get it working, and patched it out of their master codebase not realizing they would be using that to compile new updates down the line. Or more likely they patched it out so the new expansions wouldn't look worse than the existing ones.
  16. Crap on a stick, that's a huge game world. I wonder how it stacks up to the likes of, say, GTA V, or at the other end of the huge-worlds timeline, The Elder Scrolls: Arena.
  17. Oh wow, this game. I remember when it came up in the followup episode and then completely lost track of what was going on with it. But I do recall one of your German viewers saying that they'd played it and that it wasn't very good; they weren't wrong. The fact that there's a clear, steady progression from LucasArts to lowkey-Sierra to hard-Sierra to complete batshit is very interesting, though. One might even say it has a genuine difficulty curve, something I've not seen in an adventure game before. I can't help but admire the ambition involved there.
  18. So I have to ask: How much modding was required for the crowbar-as-hammer thing to work? Up until now, all the custom stuff could be (and probably was) achieved with map edits, but I'm pretty sure this required brand-new code.
  19. It took me until this episode to realize that the two heads in the logo are supposed to resemble the "circle with a thing sticking out of the top right corner" style of logos Valve used for Half-Life 2 and all the Source remakes.
  20. It's more that people have a question, and don't even consider the possibility that the creator might have used the description to preemptively answer it. Even when that question is as major as "Who besides you contributed to the video's content?" and credits are a well-established thing in our society. To some extent this is YouTube's fault. From day one, they've considered the video descriptions so unimportant that they've been mostly-hidden by default. (And no other site does that. Not DeviantArt, not Newgrounds, not even Imgur which 99% of the time is just used to rehost other people's pictures for hotlinking elsewhere.) So people get in the habit of not even thinking about them. There are a number of ways in which YouTube is staggeringly backward, and this is one of the bigger ones. Anyway. Great episode. Like everyone else I'm surprised that you went to the trouble of having the game modded (well, custom-mapped) just for something so simple, but I guess we're all still used to the days when you didn't have the resources to do anything fancier than holster your weapon and noclip your way up a short wall. I'm guessing there are going to be more moments like this in store down the line. Which brings up a good question: Were there any moments in the first series where you wanted to do something fancy like that but had to do without?
  21. I love how both games are considered notable enough to be featured on Wikipedia, despite being on the level of your typical Unity asset flip on Steam. Maybe someone should tell them? Also, TIL asset flips were already a thing over 20 years ago.
  22. Something that finally dawned on me: This could work for a Christmas episode if you get desperate, because the soundtrack all comes from The Nutcracker Suite and candy canes appear in some levels as a paint-refill... thing.
  23. You might have some luck hitting up the Vinesauce community. Vinny plays a lot of unofficial Mario games, from fan-games to parodies to knockoffs, so it's possible he's played this one at some point and someone from his audience remembers it.
  24. Hey, I just remembered another weird old game that might be a good fit for a second Halloween sampler pack episode next year. Spooky Castle is a top-down dungeon crawler thingy with prerendered 3D sprites (think Donkey Kong Country) where you attack by throwing an infinite supply of hammers. And the power-ups are "Pants of Power" and cartons of Chinese food. It's been freeware for some time now, and actually got officially posted on Itch.io, which I've never seen happen to an old game before. I've only ever played the shareware demo, so it's quite possible that it gets way weirder after that.
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