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Steve the Pocket

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Everything posted by Steve the Pocket

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?"
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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?
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Did you lose a bunch of threads from the old forum? I'm seeing brand new threads being created for a lot of episodes that I know we had discussions about.
  18. Oh! I just realized what would be a perfect episode for this show! Raiders of the Lost Ark on the Atari 2600! Everyone remembers the terrible licensed game that E.T. got, but they always forget about this one, which was... more ambitious, at the very least. It was a very early attempt at a Legend of Zelda-style action adventure game. You have an inventory of useful items, including a grappling hook; NPC vendors; and a wide variety of different locations you have to get through to reach the Ark. Oh, and did I mention it's a single player game that requires two joysticks to play? Yep, because joysticks only had one button, you used one to move around and use items, and another to scroll through your inventory—which was always present at the bottom of the screen—and drop items. Special mention goes to the manual, because it is a treat. (I was lucky enough that the person I got my system and games from had a collection of manuals in a bag, even though all the boxes were long gone.) As was typical of the time, the manual told you explicitly what every screen and sprite was because nothing looked like anything. Less typically, it had a section preceded by a spoiler warning that pretty much gave away exactly what to do at every turn. Again, because you'd have no idea what was going on otherwise. The only other game I can think of whose manual held your hand that much was EarthBound. I recommend hunting down a scan rather than consulting a walkthrough. It also has the worst rendition of a movie theme I've ever heard from a game. I first played it before I'd ever seen the movie, so I didn't know what to listen for, and I heard a completely different tune that started on the wrong measure. Oh, and Ross? In the off chance that you're actually reading this thread and choose to actively pass on the idea, could you let me know? Because if so, I may as well pass the idea on to the Stop Skeletons from Fighting guy to feature on his show Punching Weight. I think it would be a good fit for that show too but I don't want him to feature it before you get a shot.
  19. Update on this: I have now watched the playthrough to completion, and I can honestly say this is liable to drive Ross insane. For one thing, there doesn't appear to be a full walkthrough like he had for Armed and Delirious; the player was taking cues from a member of his stream chat who apparently had beaten it and was going from his own memory. So if nothing else, I should probably try to remedy that. There's also one recurring section that requires such precise click-aim and timing that it's probably easier to rely on save scumming at every single step. And another that I'm pretty sure is genuinely random. But mostly there needs to be a walkthrough. I'll see if I can make time to play through it myself and document what needs to be documented. EDIT: Actually, where would be the best place to post such a thing? The game doesn't even have an entry on most of the usual sites. And yet it does somehow have a Wikipedia article.
  20. If Ross isn't tired of point-and-click adventure games, I've got another one for the pile: The Adventures of Down Under Dan. It's a Sierra-style game in the sense that you can never be sure how many clicks away from a Game Over you are, or even if you've already screwed yourself out of a victory and don't know it yet. It has VGA graphics and OPL3 music mixed with full voice acting (in fact, the playthrough I'm watching doesn't even show captions, so those are at best optional), photo backgrounds and even FMVs in little overlay boxes. It's also kind of insane. Not constantly like Armed and Delirious was, but that just makes the crazy moments stick out that much more. One caveat I have to offer is that there might be issues with the audio. The playthrough I watched was running it in DOSBox, and several of the voice clips either got cut short or devolved into static not unlike dial-up modem noise. Though at least one of them played properly the second time around. So I don't know what's up with that.
  21. It's possible. As late as the '90s they were putting "turbo" buttons on computers so people could run games that used the CPU clock as a timer (a habit the programmers probably picked up coding for microcomputers) and wouldn't run properly on faster hardware. Though I feel like if that were the case here, Ross would have noticed a discrepancy with the Amiga version. Unless he really didn't play it any further than the footage we saw...?
  22. This is the first EGA game I think I've seen that uses a custom palette. Although it's not very customized; looks like they just did away with the cyans and purples and replaced them with an extra shade of gray, a second pale blue, a duller red (seen mainly on the big red ball in the splash screen), and that dull purple that the floor switches to around halfway through the video. Also, I'm not sure why a game released in 1988 wouldn't have a VGA mode. Any idea why the text in the manual constantly alternates between a regular font and a condensed one? It doesn't look like it was to save space, since the condensed lines have much wider spaces between the words. On the subject of fonts, though, I'm kinda digging the lettering they used for the in-game instructions and the pager message at the end. And it looks like it has all 26 letters. I might have to hop onto FontStruct and make a proper font out of it.
  23. Ah, there's the crossover we've been expecting. And here I was thinking just last week that a Black Mesa style remake of Half Life 2 would have to be a lot less ambitious and focus only on raw graphical improvements because the original visuals weren't nearly as abstract and ridiculous as the Box Crushing Room. Clearly I haven't been paying close enough attention. But that's what you're for!
  24. Oh. Something I forgot to ask before. You said of the jungle "Santa has no eyes here", which immediately reminded me of what Freeman said about Haiti: "Les yeux de Dieu ne regardent pas beaucoup là." ("The eyes of God do not look much there", according to Google Translate.) Are these both based on an expression I'm unfamiliar with? Google had no results for "God has no eyes here", and I didn't feel like punching in every variant I could think of when I could just ask. It's a pretty awesome way to describe a place as inospitable, at any rate. Also, did anyone else notice that the game is spelled "Captain Zzap" in the title screens, but "Captain Zapp" on the box art? Just another layer to the madness.
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