Games

No Man’s Sky?


The publicity push is starting for the upcoming game No Man’s Sky (link goes to Wikipedia, because there’s even less information on the official site). Having watched the E3 videos and the first two of the IGN videos, as far as I can tell, here’s what it’s about:

Every planet in the galaxy is ruled by robots who will kill you for defending yourself from hostile aliens or attempting to exploit local resources. They permit non-invasive "exploration" of their property, even allowing you to gain credit for "discovering" and "naming" their planets and creatures, although they're sure to react negatively to names like Cocktopus and Titsworld.

The demos certainly look gorgeous, but they make it clear that any “unknown” star system you “discover” will instantly have a space station, a claims office, and a fleet of killer robots that will hunt you down for strip-mining or for shooting native life, even accidentally or in self-defense. That kind of undercuts the whole “explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations” theme, even if it does mean that you can immediately jump back into the pirate-shooting and galactic-trader parts of the game.

I don’t know if it’s going to be fun, and the graphics suggest it will require serious hardware, so my initial interest in the concept is kind of waning.

[Update: nailed it.]

Porn Rock 2: Electric Boogaloo


Anita is the new Tipper.

Funny how this sort of thing always comes from the Left. It’s almost like they want to silence everyone who disagrees with them.

Speaking of which, I found concept art for the new Scarlet Letter that will be worn by despicable sinners matriculating in the fall:

X and y chromosome 007

Good Robot lives!


Shamus Young’s Project Good Robot is now on Steam Greenlight.

Bullied by the 1%


From the basic rules in the new edition of Dungeons and Dragons:

You can play a male or female character without gaining any special benefits or hindrances. Think about how your character does or does not conform to the broader culture's expectations of sex, gender, and sexual behavior. For example, a male drow cleric defies the traditional gender divisions of drow society, which could be a reason for your character to leave that society and come to the surface.

You don't need to be confined to binary notions of sex and gender. The elf god Corellon Larethian is often seen as androgynous or hermaphroditic, for example, and some elves in the multiverse are made in Corellon's image. You could also play a female character who presents herself as a man, a man who feels trapped in a female body, or a bearded female dwarf who hates being mistaken for a male. Likewise, your character’s sexual orientation is for you to decide.

Therapeutic role-play rarely mixes well with gaming, and SJWs are no fun at (or in) a party.

Update: how would I write this, to get the point across without bullshit gender-studies jargon and really stupid examples? (note that I’ve added back the first and last sentences, above. I originally left the first one out because it was the only sensible part, but then I read multiple complaints that it was still too “binary”; I added the last sentence just for completeness)

There are no sex-based restrictions or penalties in D&D; you are free to create your characters as you imagine them, and role-play your choices.

Queen’s Blade, The Live


Queen’s Blade, the ecchi anime, was based on a set of game books featuring art by popular character designers, with rules from the old Lost Worlds game books.

To attract a new audience, the latest set features photos of popular cheesecake models such as Ayaka Sayama, who takes the role of Captain Liliana.

Queen's Blade The Live, Captain Liliana
Ayaka Sayama, out of her pirate gear

No Bodacious Space Pirates were harmed in the production of these books.

Easter Eggs from a Parallel Universe


Litigate 3: Ambulance Chase minigame.

Forget everything you’ve heard about pushing blind men into oncoming traffic. EEPU has the scoop on a sure-fire way to unlock the hottest minigame of the year!

Start by going to the Courthouse first thing in the morning. Save outside a few minutes before they open, then go in and check the Job Board for a process service run to St. Agatha’s Retirement Home. If you don’t find one, reload and look again. Accept the job, head straight there (use a taxi if you’ve got enough cash or have used last week’s Whiplash! tip to get unlimited free rides), bribe the duty nurse with a pack of Lucky Strikes, and head toward the elevators.

Serve the papers first, then go down to the basement and look for box of oily rags. Move it next to the furnace, then exit the building quickly. Wait by the front gate, and within twenty minutes the air will be filled with smoke, screams, and the sweet, sweet sound of sirens. Now put on your running shoes and go chase those ambulances!


Next week: finding the hidden porn in Plato’s Cave!

Moral clarity in Skyrim


While sitting at home being sick and miserable, I loaded up Skyrim and tried playing a more magic-oriented character (short version: mages are very squishy in the universe of the Elder Scrolls). Along the way, I picked up a quest that I didn’t do on my previous run through the game, The Break of Dawn.

In this quest, the goddess-like being Meridia commands you to become her champion and reclaim her temple from the undead forces of the necromancer Malkoran. This is a pretty typical dungeon crawl, and that’s the problem. SOP in a dungeon crawl is to steal anything that isn’t nailed down: spellbooks, potions, chests of gold and gems, offerings, divine relics, contents of burial urns, and of course, everything carried by your vanquished foes.

Except this time you’re looting the temple of the goddess who not only gave you the job, but also lifted you thousands of feet into the air to ensure you felt properly motivated. And in addition to all the usual things to loot, the place is full of the Desecrated Corpses of her worshippers, and they were all loaded with cash, easily ten times as much as the undead monsters you have to wipe out. There are so many of them that in some places you have to kick the emptied husks aside to reach the next batch.

As soon as you finish the job, before you can stagger off to the nearest NPC vendor, she lifts you high into the air again, and thanks you for cleaning her the place out.

“Out of memory” as a generic error


After the most recent patch, Torchlight 2 refused to launch due to “out of memory” errors. It seemed related to having mods installed, since it was still playable without them. The only mod I had installed was one I created as a test (a one-liner that slightly increased magic-item drop rate in random Mapworks maps), so this didn’t affect my gameplay at all, but I was curious enough to try to debug it.

Was it a change in how it handles mods? Had they added bounds-checking to keep people from doing things like increasing the drop rate? Had they introduced a regression in their archive-file-loader, or maybe fixed an old error that third-party archivers tripped? Etc, etc, etc.

In the end, the problem was simple, yet completely unrelated to memory: I had shared the data directory, mounted it from my Mac, and copied the archive files over, convincing Windows that I had a file open. I had made my mod on the Mac, since all the current tools are Python-based, and I saw no point in either setting up a Windows Python environment or using py2exe binaries downloaded from random web forums.

The error-handler in their startup code just assumes it ran out of memory when anything goes wrong. Hopefully their debug builds are a bit more precise.