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Real Name Sho   
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Nickname Sho
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Signed On May 26, 2002, 23:49
Total Comments 722 (Apprentice)
User ID 13167
 
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News Comments > Torment: Tides of Numenera Gameplay Video
39. Re: Torment: Tides of Numenera Gameplay Video Sep 18, 2014, 23:39 Sho
 
Acleacius wrote on Sep 18, 2014, 22:37:
Sho you do realize your comparing PST a setview range graphics, which enable the drawing of maps, with much greater detail. Verses W2 which is completely different in that it's 3D with variable camera view ranges and angles..right?

I'm a software engineer with a decent computer graphics background. I haven't done any game dev (beyond an attempt at reimplementing Tomb Raider once, which got as far as loading and rendering the environments - thanks to others reverse engineering and documenting the map format), but I'm pretty clear on the different approaches to putting things on screen, aye.

Acleacius wrote on Sep 18, 2014, 22:37:
If you realize this, I'm not sure why your going into such detail comparing two completely different graphic renderings.

Because I feel the problems I'm pointing out are systemic and examples of a general weakness in inXile's output. It's correct the different approaches pose different challenges, but they're not hitting attainable quality targets in either for me, aesthetically and craft-wise.

As for why I'm invested in talking about it ... well I am invested, with money, in both games ;P.
 
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News Comments > Torment: Tides of Numenera Gameplay Video
37. Re: Torment: Tides of Numenera Gameplay Video Sep 18, 2014, 20:54 Sho
 
jdreyer wrote on Sep 18, 2014, 20:21:
@ Sho.

1. I think it looks about as good as NWN2. Definitely better than 90s level BG or PS:T.

2. Although I'm not seeing everything that you are, I'm wondering what you're expecting for $4M?

3. What's a game that does this better? Diablo 3?

1. I actually think it looks worse than PS:T. This is a graphics vs. aesthetics thing. Of course TTON has more modern graphics, and because of the greater computational resources available now and the general advance in rendering tech, it gets a lot of nice things "for free" that PS:T couldn't do. There are some other improvements that are the result of a combination of advances in craft, tech and tooling - e.g. PS:T had to resort to tiled materials a lot more (especially on the floor layers). But the overall aesthetics are noticably worse right now, I think. Check out random PS:T screenshots, and notice how those scenes tend to feel richer and deeper because there's more contrast/layering between floors and walls, furniture and characters. There's also some really bad environment modelling in the TTON vid; the divding wall in the video still is a good example, doesn't feel organic or fit the concept of the location at all, that very polygonal opening looks awkward, and so on. I feel like PS:T did better on this stuff within the fidelity envelope possible at the time ...

I normally wouldn't be this concerned, but Wasteland 2 never came together visually so I'm not-so-sure anymore about "they'll work it out".

2. For $4M I'm expecting a lack of issues that can be addressed by hiring well and planning ahead, I guess. No, it's not easy, and it's the nature of the game that many projects never get so lucky. FWIW, note that they imported technology from Pillars of Eternity ... I'm sure Obsidian got some money for that, but I'm also sure that was effectively a cost-saving opportunity for inXile which makes their budget looks a little better.

3. Harebrained managed to pull off excellent graphics at a similar budget with Shadowrun Returns. I think there's a few reasons for that. The SSR level design system enforces much tighter constraints on the shape assets can take and how they can be put together - it's a fairly rigid tiles-and-decals system. That means there's less flexibility in putting environments together, but it also creates a clear set of parameters within which their artists could let loose and churn out high-quality stuff. They also did really, really well on visual consistency across all the assets - density, rendition style, coloration and so on. They figured out what they could afford and executed extremely well.

You can make an argument that having more ambitious locations like The Bloom is still a good thing even if you "fail" at them and require the gamer to make it look better in their heads, of course. And again: If the writing is at the level of PS:T, and they manage to pull off their gameplay ideas (which sound absolutely fantastic on paper), I'll love playing this even if nothing improves over this video. A story-driven RPG with infrequent but meaningful combat in an conceptually interesting setting? Hells yes. I'd still back this today.

This comment was edited on Sep 18, 2014, 21:13.
 
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News Comments > Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut Released
1. Re: Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut Released Sep 18, 2014, 19:25 Sho
 
Continuing on from the Torment thread - Harebrained did manage to pull off excellent graphics on a small budget, for example.  
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News Comments > Torment: Tides of Numenera Gameplay Video
34. Re: Torment: Tides of Numenera Gameplay Video Sep 18, 2014, 19:02 Sho
 
Acleacius wrote on Sep 18, 2014, 17:08:
Several of you seem to be disappointed with Wasteland 2.

I think the Wasteland 2 graphics are terrible, and they actually got worse since the first video was shown. This has concerned me greatly vis-a-vis Torment (which I care a lot more about) for some time.

Note I don't mean "looks cheap" (re Creston), I mean "badly crafted". I think Wasteland 2 has a lot of problems with bad materials and bad ambience effects. It's a quality control thing, e.g. the density/resolution/noise level of the materials seems to vary a lot and gives the game a pieced-together appearance. The scene compositions also don't tend to do much in the way of foreground/background layering to create depth.

The Torment video has similar craftsmanship issues. There's lots of badly mapped and stretchy textures, a plasticky sheen on everything, next to no ambient occlusion (e.g. look at the well and the tree in the outdoor location), some noisy bump/normal maps, the resolution of the geometry is uneven (smooth in some places, polygon-y in others), ... one thing both games have in common is really, really and washed-out location lighting.

I'm just concerned at this point that inXile doesn't have a competent art staff. Or maybe they just lack a good art director who has a handle on the game's overall look and nails down some parameters for the asset pipeline.

This doesn't need to be a death blow to either game (for one, it might just get fixed in time). Quality writing and gameplay trumps all. I can get over bad graphics if my suspension of disbelief is guaranteed by those things. I can even find bad graphics charming. But it'd be nicer with good graphics ...

This comment was edited on Sep 18, 2014, 19:14.
 
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News Comments > Torment: Tides of Numenera Gameplay Video
25. Re: Torment: Tides of Numenera Gameplay Video Sep 18, 2014, 11:00 Sho
 
Creston wrote on Sep 18, 2014, 10:59:
How much money did you put in the Kickstarter?

$125. The "All Digital" pick, not much for trinkets to stack around the place.
 
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News Comments > Torment: Tides of Numenera Gameplay Video
23. Re: Torment: Tides of Numenera Gameplay Video Sep 18, 2014, 09:28 Sho
 
I'll be a bit more critical: I think the graphics look bad, it looks like 90s cutscene CG with bad materials and a plastic sheen everywhere. Of course this is pre-production footage, they likely have a lot more to do on getting things to blend in well and adding post-processing or just plain having artists paint over stuff. So I'm not too concerned yet. Heck, I'd probably play it looking like this anyway. But I do want better.  
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News Comments > Linux Another World Released
2. Re: Linux Another World Released Sep 17, 2014, 17:28 Sho
 
BobBob wrote on Sep 17, 2014, 16:30:
Ryan Gordon is definitely one of my favorite gaming developer / programmer / advocates. He's a pillar of the gaming scene and a very nice person.

Fully agreed. Make no mistake, a programmer like Ryan has his pick of jobs. He can work where he wants. That he's been doing this for 15 years now shows the sort of care and commitment to what he's doing that few people have.
 
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News Comments > MS/Mojang $2.5B Deal Confirmed
108. Re: MS/Mojang $2.5B Deal Confirmed Sep 16, 2014, 08:23 Sho
 
Kevin Lowe wrote on Sep 16, 2014, 00:04:
NeXT wouldn't have been worth a whole lot without getting Steve Jobs in the process, for example.

That's nonsense. Mac OS X and iOS are today built on NeXT's technology. Of course personnel transfer was key, but Steve Jobs was hardly the only important person to transfer from NeXT. Plenty of engineers came along who have shaped Apple's software since.
 
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News Comments > MS/Mojang $2.5B Deal Confirmed
92. Re: MS/Mojang $2.5B Deal Confirmed Sep 15, 2014, 17:52 Sho
 
Beamer wrote on Sep 15, 2014, 17:48:
So, again, if Wall Street was willing to say something was worth $7.5 billion, and Microsoft bought it for $2.5 billion, I'd say it's nowhere near as easy to immediately write off as so many here are doing.

You forget that everyone here is steeped in experience at running a Fortune 500 company.

How many people are unable to go "you know, this seems like a complex topic I don't know much about, maybe I'm not actually qualified to have an opinion on this just yet" never ceases to amaze me. I can understand going "so I've been mulling this, and here's something interesting I dug up" or "this makes no sense to me, what do you guys think?" but having a 100% certain opinion two minutes in just closes yourself to actually thinking.
 
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News Comments > MS to Reveal $2.5B Mojang Deal Tomorrow?
45. Re: MS to Reveal $2.5B Mojang Deal Tomorrow? Sep 14, 2014, 16:34 Sho
 
Fletch wrote on Sep 14, 2014, 16:32:
Sho wrote on Sep 14, 2014, 12:02:
This exchange is starting to reflect the average age of the Minecraft player base, me thinks.

49

[citation needed]
 
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News Comments > MS to Reveal $2.5B Mojang Deal Tomorrow?
42. Re: Out of the Blue Sep 14, 2014, 16:15 Sho
 
Rigs wrote on Sep 14, 2014, 16:08:
LEGOs may be children's toys

Heck, few things are nobler pursuits than making a good children's toy. Like many engineers I have super-fond memories of playing with LEGO blocks. I remember when I came up with four-wheel drive on my own and how happy my dad was when I showed him and other moments just seared into my memory.

I haven't played Minecraft much myself, but it seems like a superb LEGO for today's gen, especially with all the circuitry blocks you can play around with to explore basic computing ideas.

If MS does screw this up, it'll be a sad loss. What I'd like to see happen for Minecraft is a gradual open sourcing and turning over governance to a non-profit, to make sure Minecraft stays available to all. Unfortunately even in the most benign scenarios I can come up with I can't see MS doing that anytime soon. I'd love to be proven wrong, though.
 
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News Comments > MS to Reveal $2.5B Mojang Deal Tomorrow?
39. Re: Out of the Blue Sep 14, 2014, 16:00 Sho
 
Rigs wrote on Sep 14, 2014, 15:54:
I know it's not 'console exclusivity' yet everyone here seems to think that's exactly what it is.

No, there were other voices in the thread. For discussion to progress it's usually a good idea to latch onto that and see if you can expand the thinking or contribute something, rather than endlessly continue the same one-note conflict. It's best to ignore the simple knee-jerk stuff. It's usually grandstanding or letting off steam, and if you respond to it you just deliver a wordier version of the same.
 
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News Comments > MS to Reveal $2.5B Mojang Deal Tomorrow?
19. Re: MS to Reveal $2.5B Mojang Deal Tomorrow? Sep 14, 2014, 12:02 Sho
 
This exchange is starting to reflect the average age of the Minecraft player base, me thinks.  
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News Comments > MS to Reveal $2.5B Mojang Deal Tomorrow?
13. Re: MS to Reveal $2.5B Mojang Deal Tomorrow? Sep 14, 2014, 11:51 Sho
 
descender wrote on Sep 14, 2014, 11:46:
Yes, they really ruined those already terrible Tomb Raider games...

Bah, the last Tomb Raider was actually really well-liked by the Blue's community. Actually I liked all of Crystal's Tomb Raiders, even the rushed Underworld. I'm pretty miffed by the timed exclusive myself, especially since there's not even any upside to it. Nixxes (the studio handling PC ports of Crystal Engine games for Eidos) proved with both that game and DXHR that they can deliver a good PC port same-day.
 
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News Comments > MS to Reveal $2.5B Mojang Deal Tomorrow?
9. Re: MS to Reveal $2.5B Mojang Deal Tomorrow? Sep 14, 2014, 11:32 Sho
 
HorrorScope wrote on Sep 14, 2014, 11:20:
IMO there is nothing interesting to watch, MS has a totally proven record of how these things play out. Is there a chance for it to be different, yes, but pretty slim.

Yeah, I'm not saying I'm holding out hope or so. Basically I'm just always curious about any signs of Microsoft possibly changing. Big companies aren't monolithic, there's new folks rolling in all the time and there's internal debate and currents in there and such.

I've been Linux developer for the past decade, so I'm used to being in the opposing camp, of sorts, on various issues. Our way of making software used to be essentially denounced as evil by Microsoft, but in recent years they've increasingly toyed with open source as the industry has changed around them and their staff has become younger (you essentially cannot hire engineers below 30 anymore who don't have some open source experience). I'm sure there are some Microsoft engineers who are hoping to be able to push for even more change into that direction under the new leadership up top (Nadella). Hell, I sometimes see Microsoft engineers pop up on IRC now and talk to us and colleagues from competitors like Google day-to-day now.

You're right about the games division's track record, but I think even it is subject to culture change from the gros of the company.


HorrorScope wrote on Sep 14, 2014, 11:20:
Obviously they think this is the next Lego's, if they can get people to go to the movies for Minecraft like Lego gets for movies, then there is room to make this pay off long term. To me though it isn't set in stone, this isn't that type of brand yet.

I think it pays off long term for them if the future engineers who grow up playing Minecraft now walk away with a positive image of Microsoft, instead of being the uncoolest place you can possibly work at.

This comment was edited on Sep 14, 2014, 11:39.
 
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News Comments > MS to Reveal $2.5B Mojang Deal Tomorrow?
6. Re: MS to Reveal $2.5B Mojang Deal Tomorrow? Sep 14, 2014, 11:13 Sho
 
descender wrote on Sep 14, 2014, 10:39:
I don't understand why this is a big deal. "Minecraft" is not really going anywhere.

The consensus by commentators goes like this: Minecraft is to kids today what LEGO was to many of us. Microsoft is buying it to install its brand into this new generation.

I suspect this isn't far off, and there is probably internal debate about whether to go with a "cast the net wide" approach (-> keep Minecraft on as many platforms as possible, etc.) or make it exclusive to MS platforms (argued for by those for whom not doing so seems like bypassing an opportunity).

As an outsider to Minecraft, I find this interesting to watch. How Microsoft goes about this will say a lot about where the company is headed and what sort of people make the calls now. Even if you don't give a shit about Minecraft, it's worth paying attention I think.
 
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News Comments > Saturday Crowdfunding Roundup
6. Re: Saturday Crowdfunding Roundup Sep 13, 2014, 18:55 Sho
 
Cutter wrote on Sep 13, 2014, 18:47:
The shine on crowdfunding has definitely worn off for a lot of people and that will only continue as projects fail, turn out to be shit, and scams all increase.

I'm not sure that's it. I've backed around 20 games or so up until now, and I think 7-8 have delivered by now. I've been happy with all of them except one which turned out to be a complete disaster (Jane Jensen's Moebius). And yet I find myself much less likely to back anything right about now.

I think it's mostly because I'm kind of at capacity. I'm still waiting on a lot of my backed projects, and I haven't finished playing some of those that already finished. Something has to impress me rather a lot now to back it, just because I don't need more game, including in niche genres that were previously dormant.

It affects my attention span. An acquaintance suggested I back Seldon Crisis the other day, but after one look at the pitch vid and the first few sentences of description I was out. It was just a CG space battle, nothing that indicates in any way they have the chops or a plan for how to realize the ambitious game they want to make, and their goal sum is much too low for a MMO. And I wouldn't have time to play it anyway, so what's the point? I'm not adverse to spending money for vote-with-my-wallet activism reasons, I guess, but then they'd have had to convince me that's worthy of it fast ...
 
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News Comments > Saturday Crowdfunding Roundup
3. Re: Saturday Crowdfunding Roundup Sep 13, 2014, 18:13 Sho
 
I think it ultimately comes down to a variety of factors culminating in whether you believe a pitch will follow through and deliver on its promises. If you have no established track record, showing a more substantial prototype can definitely help with generating that.  
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News Comments > Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut Diary
6. Re: Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut Diary Sep 13, 2014, 16:56 Sho
 
I actually enjoyed the Seattle campaign, so I'm all hells yes about an improved successor ... I didn't play the original Dragonfall yet, so even better. And heck, I live in Berlin.  
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News Comments > Steamships Ahoy - Fable Anniversary
27. Re: Steamships Ahoy - Fable Anniversary Sep 13, 2014, 11:09 Sho
 
Apparently the way they went about doing this is to strap an Unreal Engine 3 layer to the original "gameplay engine". I bet it's a colossal hack where they essentially run the old game offscreen and shuttle data forth and back to keep the two halves in sync (the failed Kickstarter for Outcast HD used the same technique, check out their vids to get an idea of it). That might explain why they found it hard to wire up mouse support in a few ways I can sort of imagine. It actually makes for an interesting curiosity, I'd love to see their code.  
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722 Comments. 37 pages. Viewing page 8.
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