Conference Call

GWJ Conference Call Episode 145

Worms iPhone, Blood Bowl, What You Don't Know About Trash Panic, Fallout 3 Modding, Talkin' Bout Grunts, Live Show This Saturday, Your Emails and more!

This week we dig deep for new game discussion and talk about all the red shirt enemies we wade through in our games. Stay tuned on Saturday, July 25th (8PM EST) for our live show as we celebrate our three year anniversary! If you want to submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"PodunkStump" (Ian Dorsch) - 0:27:34
"Los Pistoleros" (Ian Dorsch) - 0:45:48

Comments

I'm glad you brought up BattleTech's 25th Anniversary! As you've said, MekTek will be releasing MW4 for free in a couple of weeks (it's not QUITE done yet). Additionally, Smith & Tinker revealed the first footage of the MechWarrior franchise reboot, which will come out on the PC and 360 a few years from now (don't worry; the creators said they have no intentions of dumbing down the game for consoles). IGN had a 6-page interview with the creators as well!

Maybe a few goodjers will give MW4 another try after the free version comes out?

Good show as always, friends!

I would agree with Rabbit to an extent on 'The Secret of Monkey Island.' Most of the humour is smirk or a smile worthy rather than outright hilarious. There are however two or three jokes (mainly in part three) that stand out as being sublime and I think the memory of those moments colour my, and other players, memories of the rest of the game. It's probably the same with the puzzles. Personally, I'd say it was worth playing for those moments.

With Grunts, Bungie have it right. They mix various enemy types together. There are fodder enemies mixed in with tougher enemy types that have fighting styles or abilities that cause you problems. It's a great way to generate fun and varied fights.

I always felt that the fights in WoW (outside instances) were won or lost before the fight started. You either had the maths on your side or the enemy did.

The most memorable reward for a good deed I had was in a text adventure. In my wanderings I came across a pitiful soul staked out for the birds. He was in a terrible state. I was offered the option to let him go or leave him. I untied him (of course) and he promptly jumped to his feet and tried to kill me.

Favourite funny moments 'Secret of Monkey Island' wrote:

[color=white]It's a fixer upper
Insult sword fight
Three headed monkey
Pants? What pants?
Rubber tree (corny joke but at least you didn't die)
sinking the boat with the cannon[/color]

Good show. I think the "Steam Soundtrack" you were trying to remember is the Orange Box Soundtrack, it's the music from TF2, Portal and Ep2 and it's pretty good.

I have to really disagree about the min-max problem with gaming morality. No matter what the payoff, there's no way I could have brought myself to harvest the Little Sisters in Bioshock.

In context of 'if games were historically saved' ie. the original cartridge, box, with the booklet, old tube screen to run it on etc . . . I am fine with emulators. If the thing runs on XP, well I can confidently say I could enjoy this in 50+ years. It comes down to the 'fetish' part of the equation. Some folks just like packaging, they like to feel it, hold it, see it in a very intimate, personal way. But as to if one would be able to play Activison's Demon Attack (emulated perfectly) on the 2600 in 2060, the answer is yes.

Can't wait for the live show! I wonder if i need to remind Rob about that song i sent in?

Duoae wrote:

Can't wait for the live show! I wonder if i need to remind Rob about that song i sent in? ;)

You may just have to send me another e-mail with this song of yours. I can't find anything new from you in my e-mail!

This was a great episode; the bus-ride really flew by this morning.

Some of my thoughts:

Zelos is correct. The Orange Box soundtrack was made available through Steam. In addition, the folks at FunCom made The Longest Journey soundtrack available for free some time back.

I'm going to agree with that great email about the interface being the issue with old games. I've recently been playing an emulated version of the old C64 game Space Taxi. The graphics are beyond crude, but the controls are responsive and there's no mucking about with the keyboard. As a result, the game has legs well over two decades after its release.

Mr. Sands, please assure your wife that her side of the discussion was endearing as hell. Also, it'd probably do some of the younger gamers a bit of good to hear something about the dynamics between a gamer who's married to a non-gamer. (In this case, it's really gamer and casual gamer, but that just sounds weird.)

On the morality front, I don't have the min/max problem. I have the do-gooder problem. I such a wuss that I can't bring myself to be evil even in a completely artificial environment with no negative consequences whatsoever.

I was so excited to start another game of Fallout 3 and be really bad - creepy moustache and all. But after two hours into my new game, I looked around at the dead innocents in Vault 13, got depressed, and quit the game. I haven't returned since.

Gaald wrote:
Duoae wrote:

Can't wait for the live show! I wonder if i need to remind Rob about that song i sent in? ;)

You may just have to send me another e-mail with this song of yours. I can't find anything new from you in my e-mail!

Okay, Rob - it was a while ago. I'll probably re-record it tomorrow and make it sound a bit better.

docbadwrench wrote:

Mr. Sands, please assure your wife that her side of the discussion was endearing as hell. Also, it'd probably do some of the younger gamers a bit of good to hear something about the dynamics between a gamer who's married to a non-gamer. (In this case, it's really gamer and casual gamer, but that just sounds weird.)

I have to echo my appreciation of Elysia's contribution. Although my only criticism with the segment was that she wasn't harsh enough on Elysium... i definitely was expecting a whipping sound or some sort of soft sobbing in the back ground as Elysia bent back his fingers until the joints creaked.

It's funny to me that Rabbit sounded appalled that Certis was so bad at Trash Panic and then went on to talk about how difficult Blood Bowl is. A very similar conversation took place on Three Moves Ahead this week except there one of the other podcasters was saying that Blood Bowl is actually pretty easy and being appalled by Rabbit's lack of skills (i.e., exploitation of the simplistic AI).

adam.greenbrier wrote:

It's funny to me that Rabbit sounded appalled that Certis was so bad at Trash Panic and then went on to talk about how difficult Blood Bowl is. A very similar conversation took place on Three Moves Ahead this week except there one of the other podcasters was saying that Blood Bowl is actually pretty easy and being appalled by Rabbit's lack of skills (i.e., exploitation of the simplistic AI).

Yes, how the wheel does turn!

Such an assault on Lobster today!

Yes Duoae. I mentioned his playing of WoW all day to my wife and asked how she would respond if I did something like that all day. She couldn't provide me with an answer. The thought of it was unconscionable and something that only murderers and the devil-touched would consider.

My wife would never tolerate it. Consider yourself lucky, Elysium.

Interesting discussion about grunts and I'm glad Elysium spoke up about his WoW addiction and the boring, repetitive grinding on stupid ass enemies . . . er, I mean, the killing of mobs.

Anyway, I'm definitely in the camp that wants my enemies to be interesting. Smart isn't always interesting (for instance, Rob mentioned Drake's Fortune and while the men took cover, they just weren't interesting for me to kill), but smart is usually better than mobs running straight at you (looking at you the Conduit). I like my encounters to be, well, meaningful and make me think a little, learn a little and apply my skill to overcoming something.

This is probably why I now get bored with Oblivion, Fallout 3, JRPG's (except the bosses) and single-player portions of first person shooters after a couple hours and have moved on to playing more strategy games. This is also why I imported Demon's Souls and I'm looking forward to next week Certis's take on the game in lieu of his comments about enemy types.

Higgledy wrote:

With Grunts, Bungie have it right. They mix various enemy types together. There are fodder enemies mixed in with tougher enemy types that have fighting styles or abilities that cause you problems. It's a great way to generate fun and varied fights.

Agreed, even though Halo is far from a strategic FPS IMO. Plus the Grunts add some comic relief via their dialog.

I really liked the discussion on AI, but it's the other side of AI that bothers me the most. Ally AI. I know they need to make the player feel like victory depends on them and a player will be baffled if their team wins the game without their input at all, but does the ally AI always have to be so RIDICULOUSLY worse than the enemy, so that they can't do the simplest thing without your direct interaction? I can't attack and defend against the entire enemy team by my self! I'm looking at you, Unreal Tournament 3!

Grubber788 wrote:

Such an assault on Lobster today!

Uh oh... I'm only half-way through the episode. Nothing yet (unless I missed it). Should I pause it and get some tissues?

I fully expect a frowny face shortly. It mostly depends on how seriously you take Rob.

BioShock was actually the first example I thought of for a game with terrible "grunts."

While they work well with the game's setting in theory, they baldly conflict with it in execution. For a city that was founded on Randian ideals of selfishness and aggressive individuality, the splicers are not individually special enough. There are only a few types of splicer in the game, and with the exception of the obvious wall-crawling abilities of the spider splicers, the aesthetic differences between the types largely boil down to weaponry. While this is usually not a problem in games (for example, the Combine soldiers of Half-Life 2 are similarly monotonous), it becomes a problem in BioShock, ironically, because the splicers are over-individualized. Great pains were taken to give the splicers voices with personalities and costumes with histories, so it's jarring to discover that so many enemies would share the same personalities and costumes.

I'm not sure if the splicers were so similar because of technological reasons or as part of the game's overall critique of Objectivism. It's easy to see how a lesson could be taught regarding the ways that people seeking to be individuals can and will eventually fall into groups that think and behave in similar ways. However, given the choice between nameless, faceless zombies and half-defined characters, I'd rather shoot zombies. (Or please, dear god, something newer and fresher than zombies.)

You fools! *Legion*'s ego is going to expand to the size of a gas giant! Nobody's safe!

Certis wrote:

I fully expect a frowny face shortly. It mostly depends on how seriously you take Rob. ;)

Well, I look up to Rob quite a bit. There are very few people I admire more, and really I base my entire sense of self-worth on his approv-... awww...

Q_Q

I'm sad now.

More to the point, Rob, I don't exactly spam you. I think I sent you one invite this entire month, when we were looking for an 8th and I saw your status as "online." I don't think you've ever even responded or given any indication you were irritated by it. A simple "stop inviting me" would suffice. Just ask Certis.

So, y'know, sorry and all but you can't really blame me for not picking up on an e-coldshoulder.

Movie soundtracks don't come with the dvd/bluray, why should the game music come with a game?

Well, I look up to Rob quite a bit. There are very few people I admire more, and really I base my entire sense of self-worth on his approv-... awww...

Well there was your first mistake!

As for mentioning something, I did post something on the Steam group forums and again in the L4D thread. I asked people for the love of god to stop sending me invites. there was a bit of a discussion afterwords. I figured everyone noticed. I apologize if you didn't get the message.

And I guarantee you Lobster it was more than one invite recently or I wouldn't have mentioned it.

It's not that I don't like getting invited to come play a game, it's just there are some games that get played by the community so frequently it's pointless to post steam events for them never mind sending out invites for people to join the game. I'm looking at you TF2 and L4D. I don't need to be reminded it's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc, and that a game of TF2 is up! I know it's up cause just about every dam night there are people around here playing it. Same goes for L4D.

Now if you play once a week, like our SINS game. That I have no issue with. In fact we stopped posting the event and several weeks later people wondered if we were still playing. So I can see a reason for posting something like that. I just think a little common sense is in order when posting and inviting because you can end up driving people away with the constant bombardment.

I am sure I will be the only one to say this....

But I vastly prefer EQ2 over wow. Everything from the depth to the community suits my tastes better.

Gaald wrote:

It's not that I don't like getting invited to come play a game, it's just there are some games that get played by the community so frequently it's pointless to post steam events for them never mind sending out invites for people to join the game. I'm looking at you TF2 and L4D. I don't need to be reminded it's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc, and that a game of TF2 is up! I know it's up cause just about every dam night there are people around here playing it. Same goes for L4D.

Along similar lines, how do I go about disabling notifications for game events in Steam? I've unchecked every box in the blotter settings page, but I'm constantly getting notices about games of Left 4 Dead starting in the near future. I don't even own Left 4 Dead, and it's annoying as hell to have these things popping up whenever I'm using my computer. This is also why I removed everyone from my Friends list. It's great that you're playing a game; I don't care and don't want to hear about it.

adam.greenbrier wrote:

Along similar lines, how do I go about disabling notifications for game events in Steam? I've unchecked every box in the blotter settings page, but I'm constantly getting notices about games of Left 4 Dead starting in the near future. I don't even own Left 4 Dead, and it's annoying as hell to have these things popping up whenever I'm using my computer. This is also why I removed everyone from my Friends list. It's great that you're playing a game; I don't care and don't want to hear about it.

If you go into your Preferences, there's an option for you to deselect the option for signing into the "Community" automatically when you log on. Which means you wouldn't recieve either of those notifications.

Rob, it certainly wasn't a "constant bombardment." I won't send you any more invites, I just wish you'd let me know before it could boil over like that. Sorry for bothering you.

Adam there is a way to turn off notices so that you don't get a popup when a friend joins a game, or comes online. It's under setting under the friends tab or something like that.

Unfortunately there is no option that I am aware of that allows you to turn off notices for events. If anyone knows of one. Please let us know!

Rob, it certainly wasn't a "constant bombardment."

You are correct. You specifically didn't constantly bombard me, and it certainly has gotten way better as far as the invites go. You just happened to be the last of the people who were still trying to get me to join a L4D game. I am glad it's gotten all worked out, and I am glad you and everyone else who plays L4D and TF2 are still getting enjoyment out of playing those games so often. I just don't need the constant reminder.

Just to be safe, I think we should all avoid sending Rob invites to any games in the future. You never know might be boiling under the surface, waiting to erupt.

Gaald wrote:

You are correct. You specifically didn't constantly bombard me, and it certainly has gotten way better as far as the invites go. You just happened to be the last of the people who were still trying to get me to join a L4D game. I am glad it's gotten all worked out, and I am glad you and everyone else who plays L4D and TF2 are still getting enjoyment out of playing those games so often. I just don't need the constant reminder.

I can understand that. I can get frustrated too when I'm really not up for a game but get four or five invites all at once.

I think we all need a group hug.

LobsterMobster wrote:
Gaald wrote:

You are correct. You specifically didn't constantly bombard me, and it certainly has gotten way better as far as the invites go. You just happened to be the last of the people who were still trying to get me to join a L4D game. I am glad it's gotten all worked out, and I am glad you and everyone else who plays L4D and TF2 are still getting enjoyment out of playing those games so often. I just don't need the constant reminder.

I can understand that. I can get frustrated too when I'm really not up for a game but get four or five invites all at once.

I think we all need a group hug. :D

Wouldn't a group hug require a group invitation? This could get complicated.

I stand by my "gut-busting" comment re: Episodic Monkey Island. So there.