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Real Name SMA   
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Nickname Scottish Martial Arts
Email Concealed by request
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Homepage http://
Signed On Jun 16, 2002, 23:16
Total Comments 3175 (Veteran)
User ID 13410
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
15. Re: Morning Mobilization May 26, 2017, 06:32 Scottish Martial Arts
 
jdreyer wrote on May 26, 2017, 04:22:
Sorry you had to suffer so that we may be spared. Yeah, I could kind of tell from the trailers that it was going to suck. All these soft reboot movies do: the Thing (2011), Jurassic World, Force Awakens, Terminator Genesys, etc. It's an attempt to cash in and not bother to come up with original shit.

Those were my expectations about two weeks ago. Then, I started hearing fairly positive things. Then, I saw it, and, for the reasons outlined earlier, found it remarkably good. Perhaps it was just the defeat of extremely low expectations, but I thought it was genuinely a good film, unlike the other films you mentioned (with the exception of The Force Awakens, which I felt was the cinematic equivalent of a very well made hamburger: you are surprised by little, you know what to expect, but damn does it still taste good, even if you've experienced the same concept thousands of times before).

For most of nerd culture, Alien and Aliens hold a very special place in our hearts, engrained in our late childhoods/teenage years, providing a common pop-cultural backdrop to everything else we've ended up enjoying. (How many video games have had Aliens references, explicit and implicit, for example?) The new one is not going to be a part of that firmament simply because no movie can be: I'm not, at age 32, going to be carrying around quotes and characters from this movie through my formative years, because those formative years have already passed. I am, however, able to enjoy the raw tension, to marvel at Michael Fassbender's performance, and soak in the thematic explorations that, although distinct from the first two films, are rich in their own right. I am also able to cringe when yet another movie misinterprets Shelley's Ozymandias, only to realize that such misinterpretation was intentional because the quoter of the poem can't even correctly identify the author, and has to be corrected, slyly allowing the writers to reveal dimensions of a character -- namely the cracks in his urbane facade -- who utterly steals the show.

But if you want to trust someone who cannot capitalize, nor complete, his sentences as an astute judge of good writing, and what constitutes trading it for spectacle, be my guest.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
2. Re: Morning Mobilization May 25, 2017, 08:49 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Speaking of sci-fi, has anyone else seen Alien: Covenant yet? I hadn't even been planning to bother seeing it, but then the critics were mostly positive, and... it's actually quite good. The villain, played by Michael Fassbender, is easily the most interesting movie villain in years: he's legitimately menacing, brilliant but diabolical, and, most importantly, you can't ever assume he's actually going to be defeated. The film mines many of the same themes as Prometheus but unlike that mess -- which seemed to be pasted together from at least three different scripts -- there's some genuine thematic richness surrounding this movie's exploration of the relationship between creation and mortality, genius and madness. As is typical for Scott, even in his terrible movies, the cinematography and production design are superb. Plus, it's legitimately terrifying, at least in an IMAX theater.

My only complaint is that too many of the doomed colonists clearly exist only to die, leaving them underwritten, and the third act is a bit rushed and perfunctory. Some will probably complain of a plot twist being too obvious, but they will miss the point that you are supposed to consider that twist a likely, but not certain, possibility, and the length at which it's foreshadowed, yet not immediately resolved, leaves you questioning whether the twist is actually coming or not, creating further tension.

The best thing I can say is that while this probably won't achieve the same cult status as the first two films, this nevertheless is the first watchable, enjoyable, and genuinely pretty good Alien film since 1986.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
62. Re: Morning Mobilization May 24, 2017, 08:19 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Quboid wrote on May 23, 2017, 21:09:
Scottish Martial Arts wrote on May 23, 2017, 19:47:
[...]Granted, 9/11 was a traumatic event, but the world only changed because we decided to collectively live in fear.[...]

Yep, to the whole post. Considering the main goal of ISIS attacks in the West is to force a divide between the West and Islam, we've conceded so much to them. Attitudes to terrorism changed in Northern Ireland too, there are people for whom The Troubles were during most of their lives and even they think terrorism is the scary Muslims.

I think there are two separate but very closely related issues: keeping ourselves safe and fixing the root problem. It's the former that dominates politics and national policy but the later which is key to the problem. Safety is obviously important but the danger to you and me is hugely exaggerated by populist politicians and sensationalist media and I think that's leading us to make bad decisions with regard to reducing the problem globally.

Heh, not that long ago I mentioned the movie Patriot Games to one of my coworkers who is recently out of school. He hadn't heard of it, so I summarized it as a CIA analyst and his family being targeted for assassination by Irish terrorists after he intervenes as a bystander in an attack in London. When I mentioned "Irish terrorists" he literally laughed: the idea of Irish terrorists to him seemed absurd. And this kid is an Ivy League engineering school grad! Yes, terrorist attacks committed by putative Muslims are a routine thing these days, but we've nevertheless entered a surreal world in which no other terrorism exists, and that the notion that white Catholics and Protestants were once the de facto face of terrorism in the West is treated as laughable. I can't imagine how weird it must be to encounter people who personally lived through The Troubles but now can only equate terrorism with Muslims.

Clausewitz is hopelessly oriented towards the Western way of war, but if we take his famous dictum of war being the continuation of politics by other means, then terrorism is the continuation of war by other means. We engage in armed conflict when we do not have legal and political means to redress disputes and resolve conflicts. We engage in terrorism when we do not have the military power to engage in conventional armed conflict to resolve our conflicts and disputes.

ISIS has goals that are too extreme to be resolved in the political system of our international order, and their military power is too weak to engage in conventional conflict beyond the borders of their "state", so that leaves them with only one option to pursue their goals abroad: low-tech, low-casualty, max impact, showpiece suicide terror attacks. As you note, they specifically want to awaken Muslims worldwide to the "righteousness" of their cause, especially Muslims in the West, so that they can have the manpower to confront us more conventionally in a final, apocalyptic battle. The attacks aren't meant to kill us in significant numbers; they are meant to make us hate them and fear them to the point that anyone with brown skin and a beard seems suspect: that's the difference between warfare and terrorism.

And frankly, it seems like their terrorism is largely succeeding in that end.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
55. Re: Morning Mobilization May 23, 2017, 21:58 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Beamer wrote on May 23, 2017, 20:32:
Have you tried Crispo yet? Just came back from there, actually.

Not yet. Google feeds me breakfast lunch and dinner during the work week, so I've actually gone to very few restaurants. And on weekends my friends seem to be more of a "brunch as the main meal of the day, then maybe some bar food as the afternoon and evening progresses" types. I do like the Corner Bistro on Jane St. for a hamburger and beer though (cheap too, by NYC standards!) and Bonsigneur, also on Jane St, is my go to for getting a picnic sandwich or salad. The Crooked Knife on 15th(?) st is also a pretty good spot for both brunch and dinner, with bottomless beer and wine dinners on Sunday and Monday night haha.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
53. Re: Morning Mobilization May 23, 2017, 21:39 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Krodge wrote on May 23, 2017, 21:17:
Scottish Martial Arts wrote on May 23, 2017, 20:14:
A Final Solution, perhaps?

Do you honestly believe that's what he was saying?
How can we even discuss the issue if you're going to imply things like that?


Granted, he left it open to interpretation but given his post history, I strongly doubt the "facts" to which he referred were about the history, theology, social practices, cultural contributions, and broad diversity of the Muslim world. Nor is it likely his proposed solution involved leveraging empathy, education, and a greater commitment to economic and social development projects in the Muslim world. In case you've never seen footage of a Trump rally, there are a whole lot of people for whom the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim. Occasionally, they show up on this forum. If he'd like to correct me, he's welcome to, but as others have noted, no one who mentions the "simple and obvious" solution seems enthusiastic about coming back to explain they weren't suggesting actions that would violate the Geneva Convention or the Laws of Land Warfare.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
52. Re: Morning Mobilization May 23, 2017, 21:31 Scottish Martial Arts
 
SMITE wrote on May 23, 2017, 20:16:
This "none of us are ever going to die of terrorism" argument pisses me the hell off. So what if none of US are going to die from it--lots of other people ARE dying from it. Are the lives of people in other countries worth so little to you?

What if you happened to be born in Afghanistan? Or Pakistan? Or Saudi Arabia? Or, for that matter, France or England?

Islamic terrorism is a global issue, even if you're lucky enough to live in a country that doesn't suffer from it.

As for "being a pussy," I have no fear whatsoever of a terror attack here in the U.S. I'm not afraid, period. But I still have empathy for the victims, and hatred for their attackers, and for those who would defend the religion that drives them.

The metrics aren't much worse for France or England. Yes, there have been high profile attacks in the past several years; no, they haven't killed that many people. Well under 1000 since 2014, by my eyeballed, not actually punched into a calculator summation of the numbers here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_terrorism_in_Europe_(2014%E2%80%93present) I'd be willing to bet more French men and women die of Gauloises-induced lung cancer every week or so than will die to an ISIS attacker for as long as ISIS is a thing. The risk is higher in the EU because they face completely different security challenges, but the danger terrorism poses to them is the danger terrorism poses most everywhere: not to actually inflict real damage, but to induce fear out of proportion to that damage, so that the targets begin to take rash, self-damaging actions.

As for Muslim majority countries in which you are much more likely to die from terrorism, that does indeed suck for Muslim civilians. It also sucks that we back the authoritarian regimes which oppress those Muslim citizens and which have delegitimized the secular Pan-Arab Nationalist reform movement of the 50s and 60s which those authoritarians co opted, and, most importantly, gave rise to Political Islam in the 70s as a reaction to the perceived failure of Arab Nationalism and Secularism. Yeah, Islam in 2017 remains in many ways a medieval religion, and no, not everything is about America, but yes, damn it, we played a major role in ensuring that Political Islam, -- and after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 80s, its more militant, jihadist off shoots -- completely superseded the secular, modernist alternatives. But hey, at least we maintained the balance of power in the region against the Soviets, peeled off a few Arab states to make peace with Israel as part of the bargain, and prevented the democratically elected Mossadegh from nationalizing Iranian oil by deposing him in a coup, at least until the puppet authoritarian Shah we put in his place was deposed by the Islamic Revolution!

One of the arguments that consistently comes up after an ISIS terrorist attack is that Muslims are the problem -- an argument that is reductive in the extreme but I will nevertheless admit isn't entirely without merit either -- yet the only consistent, large scale victims of those problematic people are... themselves. So is Islam the problem that requires a "simple and obvious" solution, or are Muslims the victims of a problem that by and large doesn't affect us Westerners except in so far as we make bone-headed decisions to "fix" a region we've been progressively and cumulatively fucking up since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire? Speaking of which, kind of cool how the forces of Political Islam we were so instrumental in nurturing and unleashing -- and then arming for battle in Soviet-era Afghanistan -- have now effectively subverted what was once the crown jewel of a modern, secular, Muslim-majority state, i.e. Turkey?

Look, we're all angry and bitter because something shitty happened in the world, again. Yet, aside from the "simple and obvious" solution, or rather the human-rights-abusing-war-crimes-committing-non-solution, there's not a whole lot we can do about it. My own take is that we've long since lost the privilege of claiming this is our problem to solve.

This comment was edited on May 23, 2017, 21:46.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
44. Re: Morning Mobilization May 23, 2017, 20:14 Scottish Martial Arts
 
fishingtime wrote on May 23, 2017, 19:08:
stop ignoring the unfortunate facts about Islam if you want a real solution

A Final Solution, perhaps?

Stop ignoring the fact that you're going to have to live with some amount of risk and fear in your life. The only alternative is to go back to a world in which human life was much nastier, brutish, and short, and hope that your tribe finishes the primitive blood feud before nukes get launched.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
43. Re: Morning Mobilization May 23, 2017, 19:47 Scottish Martial Arts
 
NKD wrote on May 23, 2017, 18:27:
Sure. For example, approximately 80% of terrorist attack fatalities worldwide occur in just FIVE Muslim majority countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and Nigeria, and perhaps you've heard of ISIS?

In the pre-9/11 days, terrorism was at least as likely, in the Western mind, to be associated with the Irish Republican Army. You know, Catholics. And the Protestant Unionists weren't that much fucking better.

Without looking at imdb, I can think of multiple thrillers from the 80s and 90s where the terrorists were either the IRA (Catholics), Serbian militias (Eastern Orthodox), Communist Fifth Columnists (secular atheists), Columbian drug lords (Catholics again), or Environmentalists (secularists/atheists again). The big Muslim terrorism movie of the era was True Lies, but I can remember seeing it in 1994 and noting that the bad guys were brown and mentioned jihad, and thinking "oh yeah, I guess there are some angry guys in the middle east who occasionally try to bomb us. Like the IRA." Western attitudes towards terrorism were very different when I was growing up.

Granted, 9/11 was a traumatic event, but the world only changed because we decided to collectively live in fear. Take the statistical outlier of 9/11/01 out of your dataset, and the threat of "Muslim terrorists" is infinitesimal; leave the outlier in, and it is STILL infinitesimal.

The fact that we're so worried about mean scary Muslims is just evidence that we're a bunch of pussies who can't put risk in context when we feel scared or angry about something. I live in Manhattan. I went by the site of the biggest terrorist attack on US soil on my morning run along the Hudson River today, and I can say with a high degree of confidence, I'm not going to ever experience a terror attack. Why? Because I can look at statistics and probability and make risk assessments accordingly.

/soapbox

(Also, I hope this hasn't come off as a personal attack -- although it probably did and for that I apologize -- I'm more ranting against what I perceive to be poor risk assessment and over reaction among Westerners than anything you said. Islam and the Muslim world have extremely fucked up aspects, like most other religions, although perhaps to a greater different degree. But that still doesn't change the fact that realistically none of us are ever going to die of terrorism. It could happen, but possibility does not equate to significant probability.)
 
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News Comments > Saturday Mobilization
6. Re: Morning Mobilization May 21, 2017, 08:37 Scottish Martial Arts
 
qsto wrote on May 20, 2017, 14:22:
More importantly, why would any developer want to impair a potential customer from using their app? It makes no sense whatsoever

Because there are so many Android devices out there, it's not feasible to support all of them equally well. If you know there's a problem with a specific device, but that it's not financially viable to try to fix it, it's far better to block that device's users from installing your app, than it is to just let them install it, encounter nasty bugs/performance issues, and then write a hate review on the Play Store, throwing off your customer rating metrics.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
15. Re: Morning Mobilization May 21, 2017, 00:58 Scottish Martial Arts
 
bigspender wrote on May 20, 2017, 18:24:
A lifestyle change is so much better. Just get away from it all, live in nature, or move to a country where things things are cheap and life is simple.


That's great advice except when it doesn't work. Healthier habits, regular exercise, a more active social and sex life, and a nutritious diet are all great places to start when you are experiencing a mood disorder or psychiatric illness. In many cases, that's all that's needed. In many other cases, it doesn't help at all, and the patient keeps getting worse and worse. Then, a lucky prescription might turn everything around. Or it might not. Or it might heal the patient, but then they develop bad side effects six months later. Or the patient is healed, and the reasonable decision is made to wean said patient off of the psychiatric medication to see if they can maintain their health sans regular intake of psychotropics, only to have severe withdrawal, or for the psychiatric illness to come back with a vengeance and cause all of their progress to evaporate over the course of a week or two. Or nothing ever fully works and a patient lives their entire life having recurring cycles of relative health followed by mental illness, a cycle that negatively impacts and limits their social and emotional functioning from cradle to grave

Psychiatric illness is a serious fucking matter and if left unattended is just as capable of killing you as a heart attack. Because it has the stigma it has, and because some mostly healthy people on the internet once got over a blue spell by taking up weight lifting or mountain biking plus cutting out drinking, there's a lot of impetus for people, especially men, to try to pretend that psychiatric illnesses are less real and less serious than heart disease or cancer. Among middle-aged white men in America, blowing your brains out or overdosing on drugs is among the most popular way to die. If that doesn't get people to get over themselves and treat a medical problem as a medical problem, I don't know what will.
 
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News Comments > Morning Tech Bits
4. Re: Morning Mobilization May 1, 2017, 22:29 Scottish Martial Arts
 
WaltC wrote on May 1, 2017, 17:23:
If Apple built a tower it would be inferior (as the Hackintoches all prove) and almost immediately dated.

Wut? A Hackintosh is just a PC running macOS, without official Apple sanction and generally using some number of user-written drivers, hence the hackintosh. How can PC hardware be inferior to PC hardware?
 
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News Comments > Sunday Mobilization
17. Re: Morning Mobilization May 1, 2017, 07:20 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Apr 30, 2017, 21:33:
Yeah, if I had to live in a small efficiency apartment I might have a different opinion. Fortunately, that isn't a problem for me.

It's a full 1-bedroom, but the square footage is quite small at a bit over 300sqft. I've got room to store books, but when your apartment is that small, everything is a tradeoff and you have to be smart about how you use the space you have.

@Beamer: From what I've seen of e-Ink readers, they do look extremely close to the printed page. I think for reading fiction they would be absolutely fine. However, I read a lot of technical books for work/general professional development, and the lack of easy annotation, awkward jumping back and forth to refer to previous topics, the epub format messing with page layout, and sometimes broken diagrams and code samples are all deal breakers for me.
 
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News Comments > Sunday Mobilization
6. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 30, 2017, 20:04 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Apr 30, 2017, 18:29:
Personally, I don't get ebooks. Half the reason I pick up a book these days is to get my eyes off an electronic screen. Plus, I just like physical books, own a few hundred of them... Whatever. If you like them, good for you. I'll take a pass...

/curmudgeon mode off

I'm generally of the same opinion although the one thing ebooks really have going for them is portability and no need for bookshelves. You can have an entire library on one device that's as light as a paperback. I still vastly prefer the reading experience of a traditional printed book, but living in a tiny apartment in NYC, I'm starting to appreciate the upside of not having to store physical artifacts on shelves.
 
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News Comments > Activision Classics on Steam
5. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 19, 2017, 20:30 Scottish Martial Arts
 
MacLeod wrote on Apr 19, 2017, 19:04:
Damn... I need a 1ghz processor, 256 mb of ram, directx 7 3d card to play Zork?!

I'm guessing it runs in DosBOX, which while not a hugely demanding piece of software, nevertheless requires quite a bit more power than any actual MS-DOS machine ever required.
 
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News Comments > Grimoire Gets Greenlight, Due Next Month
12. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 17, 2017, 17:17 Scottish Martial Arts
 
noman wrote on Apr 17, 2017, 15:24:
I think it's Blakemore's game.

Yup, it's Cleve's game, Cleve of underground bunker in Australia and armed vigilante during the Los Angeles Rodney King Riots fame.

Seriously, anyone who isn't familiar with the internet legend Cleveland Mark Blakemore, needs to look him up now. After all, ITZ COMING!!!
 
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News Comments > Into the Black
12. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 15, 2017, 11:47 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Pigeon wrote on Apr 15, 2017, 10:27:
I thought the characters were much better developed in TFA, but Rogue One had a better overall plot/story. I think if they don't , you know, retell the plot of the original 3 movies again TLJ has a chance to be good.

I personally thought TFA was vastly more enjoyable than Rogue One for the reason you allude to: TFA had well developed, likable characters that you empathize with and root for, where as Rogue One got as far as a name and a costume for its characters, figured that was good enough to sell some action figures, and left it at that. I mean seriously, without looking it up, name everyone on the Rogue One team and describe their personality... good luck, lol.

I liked that Rogue One tried to go for a grittier take on Star Wars, but ultimately it was a film that was working from a hackish script, leading to a joyless and lifeless adventure. I just contrast everyone dying at the end of Rogue One, a moment that should have been devastating but instead was just mildly surprising, with Han Solo's death -- the selfish rogue dying because in the end he couldn't turn away from the ultimate act of selflessness: a parent loving their child -- or Rey taking up the light saber to face Kylo Ren, and suddenly the fact that TFA starts with a lost droid on a desert planet and ends with an assault on a super weapon doesn't bother me as much. TFA may have rehashed the original trilogy, but it did so through scenes that were thematically and emotionally satisfying.

edit: I had some further thoughts on why the Han Solo death works so well thematically and emotionally.

All stories depend upon the protagonist facing a crisis, and that protagonist growing and changing so that when the story reaches its climax, he or she can take the action necessary to resolve the crisis. The Han Solo character affects an air of selfishness and greed, but at his core he's a good guy, and his story, over the course of the original trilogy and in TFA, is ultimately one of learning to set aside his airs of self-interest so that he can fully take part in something bigger and more important than himself, i.e. the Rebellion, and contribute his essential goodness as a man to that cause.

As a result, TFA acts as a perfect coda to his story in the original trilogy. TFA leaves many of the details only hinted at, but the experience of Han's son turning to the dark side and the collapse of his relationship with Leia, has led him to retreat back into that shell of selfishness, a shell that was always more about self-protection than about who he truly was. Once Han and Chewie plant the charges, they could have slipped out quietly and accomplished their mission without incident, but when he see's his son, he can't do that. Because of who he is, because he is a good man who loves his son more than he loves himself, he has to confront him, to try to bring him home, no matter the risk to himself.

Han's brief experience of being a father figure to Rey and Finn means that when he's sees the young man for whom he is actually a father, Han can no longer hide from who he is and has to confront the crisis of his son. Han, a beloved, likable character, dies because he is the man he is, and because he takes the action that is in keeping with his character. As a result, we get a devastating scene, where your jaw drops in shock and horror, that simultaneously concludes the thematic arc of Han's character and gives him an end that fits perfectly with his growth and change over the course of four films. That's effective storytelling, even if Han has planted explosive charges before.

This comment was edited on Apr 15, 2017, 12:15.
 
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News Comments > Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition Released
17. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 12, 2017, 18:08 Scottish Martial Arts
 
PHJF wrote on Apr 12, 2017, 07:27:
Also, PST has Magic Missile.

Sure enough. Looks like it was Sleep that I was thinking of.
 
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News Comments > Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition Released
6. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 11, 2017, 23:36 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Agent-Zero wrote on Apr 11, 2017, 23:30:
They are 2nd edition D&D spells. Avellone didnt design D&D. its from the pen and paper books

Some are. Most of the standard D&D spells aren't in PS:T, e.g. Magic Missile, and many of the spells, particularly at higher levels, are unique to the game. And even those spells that are official D&D spells tend to work differently than what's in the Player's Handbook, like Chromatic Orb.
 
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News Comments > Yooka-Laylee Released
2. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 11, 2017, 22:16 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Frijoles wrote on Apr 11, 2017, 20:22:
Lot of hype for this one. Anyone know why? Looks like any other game. I haven't followed it a whole lot, but I see it mentioned in a lot of places.

It's made by Rare veterans and is intended to be a spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie games. I never played the second one, but the first Banjo-Kazooie was outstanding, easily one of the best games on the N64. I'm reluctant to get this without reading some reviews, but I'm definitely keeping an eye on it to see what kind of reception it gets.
 
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News Comments > Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition Released
4. Re: Morning Mobilization Apr 11, 2017, 22:14 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Yifes wrote on Apr 11, 2017, 21:38:
Isn't this just an update of the original game, with no additional content? How does having Chris Avellone help when he's not writing anything new for the game?

I think he had some input on resolving bugged/broken content, particularly in terms of resolving what the intended gameplay or narrative effect was supposed to be. I get the impression that his contribution was minor however. I did pick this up today, and played through the mortuary, and while I didn't notice any obvious gameplay fixes/changes, the interface is definitely improved, and the various quality of life improvements are nice. I'm not sure this is worth $20, but definitely grab it on sale so you have it the next time you feel like replaying PS:T: I've yet to encounter anything which suggests this is inferior to the original version.
 
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3175 Comments. 159 pages. Viewing page 3.
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