GWJ Conference Call Episode 351

Conference Call

Rogue Legacy, Prison Architect, Company of Heroes 2, Capsule, occult chronicles, XCOM iPad, Agricola, Your Emails and More!

This week Shawn, Julian, Cory and Allen catch up on all your emails!

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.

Chairman_Mao's Timestamps
00.03.02 The Last of Us
00.03.36 Company of Heroes 2
00.07.43 Prison Architect
00.14.49 Agricola
00.21.51 XCom iPad
00.24.20 Capsule
00.26.32 Rogue Legacy
00.36.11 occult chronicles
00.40.35 Rymdkapsel
00.41.41 This week's sponsor: Sawbones!
00.43.24 Your emails!

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Comments

Only caught the first email on my way home tonight, but here's my two cents.

I built my first gaming PC in 15 years a few months back, and it was a breeze. Thanks to the Build a PC thread here, I got a decent pointer to start (PCPartPicker is such a dream!), and plenty of advice on what I could change from my initial attempt at building a parts list.

I also found some "let's build a PC" videos from NewEgg and Tested.com, which helped a lot in just visualizing the steps I had to walk through.

When it comes to components - its just like a big (and expensive) LEGO set. Put all the pieces in the slots that hold them, and you're usually good to go.

Where things fell down for me was when I started running into some intermittent rebooting issues, which turned out to be something bad with the motherboard that was fixed with an RMA. I got some pointers in the Build a PC thread on things to try, but after a month of hair-pulling I finally broke down and decided to try an RMA and see if it was a problem with the motherboard. Since then, things have been smooth as butter.

If you owned the NES version of Monopoly, you'd know that auction was what the game was all about. And no one has to be the banker.

Where's the link to the vita game?

The Vita game is called 'Rymdkapsel'. If you can't find in the PS store on your Vita at first, like me, try the "Playstation Mobile" section of the store, since it's technically not just for Vita, but also for Sony phones/tablets.

Can you post a link to the "The Last of Us" Let's Play video that you mentioned?

Thanks Estorino!

SoFar wrote:

Where's the link to the vita game? :(

Added!

Beckett wrote:

Can you post a link to the "The Last of Us" Let's Play video that you mentioned?

Haven't seen it myself, maybe Elysium can dig up the one he's been watching.

i cannot figure out how to acces playstation mobile on my vita. I dont have a playstation mobile tab in the ps store. Where do i go?

SoFar wrote:

i cannot figure out how to acces playstation mobile on my vita. I dont have a playstation mobile tab in the ps store. Where do i go?

It's just in the regular store I think? The search worked for me.

Dammit, Shawn! *adds Rogue Legacy to the wishlist*

Schmutzli wrote:

If you owned the NES version of Monopoly, you'd know that auction was what the game was all about. And no one has to be the banker. :)

That was my first exposure to the auction rule too. My family always let you buy or skip the purchase (which I think was also the way buying worked in Monopoly Jr.).

Ok just listened to the PC elitism discussion.

1) Windows Sucks

2) You have to use windows as a gamer

3) Read Blackvipers and/or tweakhound OS tweak guide

http://www.blackviper.com/
http://www.tweakhound.com/

*if you don't want to go crazy on your service list try something like Razer Gamebooster
http://www.razerzone.com/gamebooster

* note the auto-start on game booster is annoying if you turn it to manual and start it up before a gaming session it works alot better than trying to autostart on game launch.

4) Make sure on a windows 7 gaming rig you at least turn off system restore and disk indexing these are background processes that eat your OS performance and constantly interfere with every app that even touches files on your system.

5) Update your drivers, update your drivers, update your drivers, have your motherboard support page(will usually cover sound, network and chipset drivers), and video card support page bookmarked and open them weekly if not daily.

6) Make sure you run windows update and have the auto-update configured properly

7) Microsoft did give gamers and all windows users a nice gift with microsoft security essentials, there is no reason to run AV or other security apps just install MSE unlike other AV's it actually works well with windows and doesn't have a huge interference hit on running apps, oh and its free.

Also just some interesting notes on Orson Scott Card. Who I as well love his writing and can't stand his politics.

-If you read some of his other works outside of the ender's game series there is some serious homo-erotic near X-rated writing, read "The Memory of Earth" and "Songmaster", for someone trying to write anti-homosexual LDS Philosophy it sure comes across as well written romance/porn

-He lives in Greensboro, N.C. just down the road for me, Greensboro is the San Francisco of North Carolina

Re: the question of money where your political/religious/whatever beliefs are..

I don't feel like getting too into specifics on anything - there's P&C threads for that, but, my thoughts:

1) re: Shawn on Paula Deen - the issue isn't so much what she said; it's that she also co-ran a segregated establishment with her brother in 2013 - *and* had a lot of horribly racist language.

2) As far as the John Milton vs. OSC question - if I know someone does awful things with money, I'm not going to fund it. John Milton, being dead for several hundred years, isn't going to get a royalty for my purchase of Paradise Lost. OSC.. he's getting paid and using that money to support causes which I find horrible.

3) Again, re: PAX - Cory, your reduction of the objections to "Gabe was an ass on twitter, so people won't go to PAX" feels really too simplistic. I know that in my case, it's "Gabe was an ass on twitter, which was instigated by a really problematic panel, and this is the second time this month he's been an ass, which was already pushing it after he and Tycho were huge asses a year ago." At this point, the convention needs to have some sort of actual chain of command that can react when problems happen at this level, and I don't see it.

An apology is nice, but there's no structural changes (that I see) to prevent this from happening again, and again, and again. Until those changes are in place, I don't feel comfortable giving my money and support to them. I don't think they'll suffer horribly from not having my $150, but if you can't stand for something when it's inconvenient for you, what's the point of having ethics?

Tanglebones wrote:

Dammit, Shawn! *adds Rogue Legacy to the wishlist*

Between that segment, and a screenshot that Bombsfall posted to Twitter last night, that was my same reaction. Probably not going to have deep discounts during the Steam Summer Sale, but if it drops to even $10 I'll probably pick it up.

re: the last of us (no spoilers)

I played my first time through on 'normal' and while the early parts of the game were tense and challenging, somewhere along the line (mainly due to an abundance of resources, but partly due to having figured out optimal ways to dispatch even the harder enemies/mobs with said resources), I was a bit of a murder machine when I chose to be. This fits into the story and character development (imho), and I think the writing engages the tension of the necessity of violence in a complex way without feeling judgmental or game-ified..

But. re: avoiding enemy encounters. I played through again on Survivor, and the lack of loot/resources changes the game (I know I know, not the first to say this). Encounters were tense and in many cases, it was indeterminate whether I could succeed, even if I played well (as the number of reloads to finally best a few sections can attest). It wasn't that enemies were necessarily harder (I didn't notice a health spike), but AI felt more aggressive (hearing/sight), and the resource scarcity meant I didnt have enough gear to take everyone down. So re: the prior point about enemy avoidance, given my fragility/lack-of-gear, I sought out solutions that avoided all but the most necessary of combat, and I sneaked through (and occasionally fled) sections of the game to avoid dozens of enemies altogether. Even knowing what was coming on a second playthrough, it was tense and exhilarating, as I had to balance, do I use this now when I'm struggling, or do I save it to when I really need it. (i chose poorly on the regular).

I'm the last one to argue "you gotta play it on hard or you're _____", (not a real gamer, bad at the game, etc etc) and in fact, I will often drop a game down to normal/easy if it has a compelling story but I dont feel like punishing myself (spec ops the line is a good example). If you enjoyed your first playthrough as much as I did, I recommend pushing it up a difficulty level or two to go for a more survival(horror?) type experience.

Does Cory plug this podcast when he's on the PCGamer videos? That should be written into whatever contract you guys have with him. It's only fair, right?

On the topic of stories and shooters: will the increased visibility of adventure games (either traditional puzzle-based style or newfangled "mechanics lite" style) provide an alternate option for stories where a manshoot (or just violence in general) isn't the best vehicle for telling the story? Or how about RPGs? Or are we going to need a new genre to really capture some of these stories without the psychotic mass murderer "ludo-narrative dissonance" that seems to be increasingly problematic lately?

Also, really liked the phrase "post-shooter" which Julian brought up. It does feel like we're on the cusp of another transition like when adventure games fell out of favor in the late 90's/early 2000's. Maybe we're just tired of the shooter concept with no one really pushing the gameplay forward in significant ways?

jam3 wrote:

windows tweaks

If you're using a modern OS and relatively modern hardware you don't need to do all these tweaks. We're far past the days when scraping a few kilo/megabytes of memory made any appreciable difference to your performance, and an unskilled/unknowledgeable user can break things.

Scratched wrote:
jam3 wrote:

windows tweaks

If you're using a modern OS and relatively modern hardware you don't need to do all these tweaks. We're far past the days when scraping a few kilo/megabytes of memory made any appreciable difference to your performance, and an unskilled/unknowledgeable user can break things.

Completely agree with this. When did my last rebuild I actually didn't do any of the tweaks and haven't had trouble with anything that is properly tuned for the platform. I remember in college I was constantly trying to find any tweaks to squeeze out performance from my aging/lower spec gear. Just haven't felt a need to do that with the current build, and I'm not even using an SSD or a top of the line GPU.

Also, I'll second the notion that staying current with graphics drivers is probably the best thing you can do with PC hardware as far as gaming is concerned. I think Nvidia and AMD both have update notification systems built into their software now which is a huge help. Or just subscribe to the RSS feeds for a tech site like Tech Report to keep up-to-date on driver releases. Drivers for other hardware is probably less critical, and most of them usually aren't regularly updated especially after the first year or two, no need to check your motherboard manufacturer's support site on a daily let alone monthly basis.

I've been a PC user for nearly 30 years; the hassle of maintenance/tweaking is enough of a time sink that I'm really looking forward to the nextgen console launch. 'It just works' becomes vastly more valuable as time to spend becomes more scarce.

Tanglebones wrote:

I've been a PC user for nearly 30 years; the hassle of maintenance/tweaking is enough of a time sink that I'm really looking forward to the nextgen console launch. 'It just works' becomes vastly more valuable as time to spend becomes more scarce.

Welcome, brother!

SallyNasty wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:

I've been a PC user for nearly 30 years; the hassle of maintenance/tweaking is enough of a time sink that I'm really looking forward to the nextgen console launch. 'It just works' becomes vastly more valuable as time to spend becomes more scarce.

Welcome, brother!

Oh, I'll still be PC gaming, but increasingly, it's easier to just move to consoles for the AAA, make my system bleed types of games. There's enough exclusives on the PC side that I'll be using it for a while yet, but my urge to upgrade/fight the battles jam3 is describing are vanishinglingly small.

Scratched wrote:
jam3 wrote:

windows tweaks

If you're using a modern OS and relatively modern hardware you don't need to do all these tweaks. We're far past the days when scraping a few kilo/megabytes of memory made any appreciable difference to your performance, and an unskilled/unknowledgeable user can break things.

The only way in which I agree with that statement is that the term "tweak" is misleading.

First, Hardware has eclipsed software so incredibly that its almost best left out of the discussion. Better stated that there really doesn't exist code that can fully utilize the performance of a modern computer except for some very specific scientific applications. So the discussion, as it relates to gaming is pretty much entirely focused on the OS and the application / game.

Second, computing potential and OS / application efficiency are not one dimensional. You are not talking about a single metric where you can go from 99.9% to 99.9001%. And even when you do expand it out to the very long list of metrics there are still data structure issues with the internal OS engine in regards to how it internally manages and queues I/O; there are degrees of serialism and parallelism that expand these metrics into several dimensions. In other words eliminating a process doesn't just recoup the memory and cpu its using it alleviates the file and device handles the core OS engine is managing, which has more than just a performance impact.

Third, with point two in mind modern consumer OS's, even linux, are designed for multiple parallel apps and to run on the least common denominator of potential systems using the least amount of available hardware resources, and greatest common denominator of potential parallel productivity. Both are inverse to running a single game and maximizing your available hardware for that games process.

These "tweaks" are not just getting you a .001% performance boost they help you craft a system to your particular use which in our case is gaming, along with regular maintenance they also help alleviate the vast myriad of problems most users encounter.

PC elitists just appear that way to people who don't want to put the effort into the mostly preventative steps of proper installation, "tweaking" and maintenance of their system that solve 95% of their problems.

jam3 wrote:

PC elitists just appear that way to people who don't want to put the effort into the mostly preventative steps of proper installation and maintenance of their system that solve 95% of their problems.

That wall of text just made my eyes glaze over, and I worked in a computer repair shop for 5 years in college. Low-level tweaks like shutting off services (ie. the BlackViper guide) aren't worth the hassle. For most people it's a terrible ROI.

Tanglebones wrote:

I've been a PC user for nearly 30 years; the hassle of maintenance/tweaking is enough of a time sink that I'm really looking forward to the nextgen console launch. 'It just works' becomes vastly more valuable as time to spend becomes more scarce.

This is essentially why I didn't bother mucking around with tweaking services and stuff like that with my current build. Right now I just run a monthly scan of malware/viruses, defrag the system, empty recycle bin/temp directories (via CCleaner), and make sure I have my most commonly used software up to date. Every other month update the video drivers (unless there was a driver specifically issued for a game I'm playing). That's it.

Computer hasn't exploded and any performance issues I've seen are either due to me running things at higher setting than I should or the game isn't optimized.

jam3 wrote:

Alsoif you don;t bother to read a person's "wall of text" then there is no point into responding to, well, yourself.

That was rude of me, my apologies.

Tanglebones wrote:

That wall of text just made my eyes glaze over, and I worked in a computer repair shop for 5 years in college. Low-level tweaks like shutting off services (ie. the BlackViper guide) aren't worth the hassle. For most people it's a terrible ROI for the amount of research you need to do.

If we want to engage in the logical fallacy of appealing to authority then I'll raise you as masters in computer science and 25 years in IT doing pretty much everything, mostly database work. Also if you don't bother to read a person's "wall of text" (which should be pointed out is an improperly indented forum post usually with bad grammar and my post was well formatted) then there is no point into responding to, well, yourself.

shoptroll wrote:
jam3 wrote:

Alsoif you don;t bother to read a person's "wall of text" then there is no point into responding to, well, yourself.

That was rude of me, my apologies.

No problem, as a PC elitist since the 80's who ironically fell in love with games on the original atari, i'm used to it

jam3 wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:

That wall of text just made my eyes glaze over, and I worked in a computer repair shop for 5 years in college. Low-level tweaks like shutting off services (ie. the BlackViper guide) aren't worth the hassle. For most people it's a terrible ROI for the amount of research you need to do.

If we want to engage in the logical fallacy of appealing to authority then I'll raise you as masters in computer science and 25 years in IT doing pretty much everything, mostly database work. Also if you don't bother to read a person's "wall of text" (which should be pointed out is an improperly indented forum post usually with bad grammar and my post was well formatted) then there is no point into responding to, well, yourself.

*cough* misattribution there

jam3 wrote:
shoptroll wrote:
jam3 wrote:

Alsoif you don;t bother to read a person's "wall of text" then there is no point into responding to, well, yourself.

That was rude of me, my apologies.

No problem, as a PC elitist since the 80's who ironically fell in love with games on the original atari, i'm used to it :)

To be less rude, that's the thing that rubbed me the wrong way. Going into a technical explanation as to why you should be tweaking and then playing "this is just how we are, sorry you don't get it" card really doesn't help the elitist impression.

Which is why I advocate a different part of the spectrum: smart hardware choices, good maintenance routine, and not bothering with optimizing every square inch of the system.

shoptroll wrote:

To be less rude, that's the thing that rubbed me the wrong way. Going into a technical explanation as to why you should be tweaking and then playing "this is just how we are, sorry you don't get it" card really isn't helping the elitist impression.

I understand but that kind of is the core of the entire PC elitist discussion. From a dedicated PC users point of view these things are technical, they do require some reading, a little elbow grease, and an ongoing time commitment.

For now though the scale of more effort/performance and customization are on the PC's side and less effort/exclusive titles are on the consoles side. One day market forces will ally and give us that perfect device that does everything we want it to and requires little to no effort for it to do so.

I am currently happy with my PC / HTPC / PS3 / WII.

I probably know what the issue is with that Witcher question. I remember running into that issue with a laptop. I didn't actually see anyone answer that in the thread yet. It sounded like it was a laptop. Since it's an old game, it's probably not activating the Nvidia card and when it does the hardware check, it just sees the Intel integrated graphics. That might be able to be fixed by opening the Nvidia control panel and setting it to force the Nvidia card to be used when witcher.exe gets launched. See here for detailed info.

An other issue might be that the laptop CPU isn't running at full power when the check gets launched. Laptop CPUs are designed to run at low clock speeds when they're not doing much. So, the laptop probably has plenty of oomf, it's just not running fast when the check gets done. The check was probably designed when the GHz war between Intel and AMD was in full swing, so they probably just check for a high GHz number.

Through Steam, you should be able to right click on the game title, select "Properties," click "set Launch Options," type -dontForceMinReqs, click "OK," click "Close," and then launch the game.