December 2015 General Chat

December is here and it’s time for Olentzero, he is like the local Father Christmas over here. The real legend is quite dark but has been cleaned up for kids.

Anyway, done your shopping yet? I’m going tomorrow. That said, I just bought a new webcam and my mother is supposed to be bringing it over with her when she visits, but it might arrive after she has left, so fingers crossed. If it does arrive, you’ll be able to see all my beauty spots in the livestreams. In fact, I might have to start wearing makeup!

But seriously, are you hoping to get a lot of gaming in over the Christmas and New Year period? I am.

This Month’s Sci-Fi Movie

In June 2014, I started to use a poster from a classic Sci-Fi move as the background for the post image.

This month it is from Dr. Cyclops (1940). A mad scientist working in the South American jungle miniaturizes his colleagues when he feels his megalomania is threatened.

Sounds kinda cool and it’s got a 6.4 from IMDB and that’s better than some of the modern movies I end up watching.

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47 Comments

  1. I was thinking yesterday that perhaps RTSL needs a more specific term for the kind of mods it has.

    I mean, I’m not arguing whether they are mods or not, of course they are, but “mods” is a fairly generic term. RTSL seems to be mainly focused on short singleplayer Half-Life maps, but the term can cover anything from multiplayer mods to mods that completely change the gameplay and so on.

    Just like mods that are basically new games have the name “full-conversion mods”, I feel like there should be a proper, unique name for RTSL’s mods, if there isn’t one already. The best I can think of is “vanilla mods” – i.e., mods that basically expand the ‘vanilla’ HL2 game -, but I’ll readily admit it’s not that great.

    1. RTSL seems to be mainly focused on short singleplayer Half-Life maps

      The site ONLY covers SP maps and mods – No MP stuff here. It might seem that the focus is on maps, but that’s only because there are more of them. The site also ONLy covers mods that include NEW maps, so gameplay and graphical mods are not listed here.

      I can’t think of a new name for these types of releases. BTW, have you tried the TAGs page? I think you might be surprised at how useful that page is.

      1. The site ONLY covers SP maps and mods – No MP stuff here. It might seem that the focus is on maps, but that’s only because there are more of them. The site also ONLy covers mods that include NEW maps, so gameplay and graphical mods are not listed here.

        Yeah, that’s what I thought too, but I wrote a ‘politically-correct’ sentence instead just in the off-chance there was some multiplayer section that I missed, haha.

        I can’t think of a new name for these types of releases. BTW, have you tried the TAGs page? I think you might be surprised at how useful that page is.

        Oh, no doubt, but I didn’t write the comment meaning that I need help finding the mods. I was mostly thinking about how it’s such a broad definition that I find it hard to explain RTSL and its mods. It’s not exactly GameBanana.

        I do like the idea of naming them “Episodes”, maybe “Mini-Episodes”. Or “expansion mods”, come to think of it. I dunno, I just think there should be a name, you know?

        1. The problem I see is that unless it is immediately clear what the word refers to, it’s useless. If other people don’t take it to mean what “we” take it to mean and you have to explain it, then it’s lost its purpose. Episodes sounds good but could easily be confused with the game’s episodes. Missions has also been used but I’m not a big fan of that either.

          I do understand where you are coming from and maybe we can come up with something and start using it in the hope other communities follow suit.

          1. In the strictest sense, these are “modifications” of existing content, so the mods term fits. It’s just that there isn’t a satisfactory phrase to separate maps from low-effort crap like skin and sound replacements (which make up 95% of any given Steam Workshop).

            1. Exactly. If we can create a new term for playable maps and mods that help separate them from the crap you mentioned, that would be cool.

            2. Pretty much. Mind you, I never said “mod” doesn’t fit, just that it’s too broad a term. I mean, GameBanana is also a site for mods (they even call themselves “the Game Modding Community”), but it’s exactly the sort of stuff you described and RTSL couldn’t be farther from that.

              Again, it’s not a huge deal, I just wonder if there could be a proper term for these mods that would also help clarify how RTSL is different from the rest of the crop.

    2. Zekiran

      I have always been in favor of finding a term that works for what this site carries, versus the “client sided texture modification” or “config mod” tweaking that is pervasive aside from the ‘actually a map’ or ‘full level design’ that we play here.

      I don’t know what it could be called, unfortunately. Maybe we need an acronym.

  2. It’s time to vote for the Mod and Upcoming Mod of the Year on ModDB. That’s always an exciting time. 🙂

    1. Don’t forget we run some end of year awards here too. Ours start in January though and include, Best Mod, Best Map, Best Moment, Most Beautiful Scene and Best Review (new).

      1. Very true. 🙂

        Though, our little, big mod is not eligible for any of those yet..

      2. Best Review? So that’s like… reviewing a review, right?

        Not saying I don’t like the idea, I’m just easily amused.

    2. Unq

      Forever an Upcoming and never a Mod, eh? 🙂

      1. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride!

  3. What’s up with the new logo? It used to be a picture of Freeman, now I don’t know what it is. Did I miss a memo?

    1. Zekiran

      It is a new logo, though I’m not all that fond of it, because like the newer Deviantart logo it is only a chunk of a full image and thus… you really have to know what you’re looking at in order to figure it out. It’s a portion of a lambda. I’d prefer a whole one, actually. Also not too sure about the color combo it gives on the top bar, white on blue, where the logo in my bookmarks tool bar is orange on blue.

      1. Funny, I noticed it when it changed but assumed it had always been that and I just hadn’t noticed, haha.

        I think it’s brilliant as it is; if it was a full lambda, it’d just look like all the other Half-Life sites who just keep reusing the old lambda logo. This way, it’s more unique, and only hints at Half-Life but it doesn’t take too long for someone to understand it. The white section also implies a pathway or corridor to me, which spells out what type of mods RTSL has.

        That said, yeah, the favicon being orange and blue is weird. I understand the idea of having the orange of the top bar (which is the default Half-Life color, too) present on the icon, but it would look more consistent and arguably better if it was the same as the logo on the site.

        1. That was my thinking too – too many site have a version of the full Lambda logo, this way, it’s hinted at and understandable by HL fans.

          Yes, the two colours are weird and I plan to play around with it a bit more. I might just make it have a blue border and leave the lambda as white. That way it will be okay in a browser’s tab.

      2. it is only a chunk of a full image and thus… you really have to know what you’re looking at in order to figure it out

        But that is often true of all logos. If you have never played Half-Life and didn’t know what connection the Lambda symbol has the HL logo wouldn’t make sense. I don’t believe that a logo has to be obvious to all – I believe it’s just a symbol that represents the product. Sure, it’s nice if it has a connection but I don’t think that’s needed.

        I have Logo Envy. The logo for LambdaGeneration is fantastic and I felt the RTSL logo was too wishy washy. I wanted something bolder and with a hat tip to PlanetPhillip.com too (the colours).

        The colour difference between the main logo and the favicion is to do with the background on the main site and tabs. If I had it orange then the logo on the main site would look really weird and if I had it white then the favicon would look weird. I feel this way, allows me to keep the design but play with the colours depending on the situation.

        1. I don’t believe that a logo has to be obvious to all – I believe it’s just a symbol that represents the product. Sure, it’s nice if it has a connection but I don’t think that’s needed.

          It’s not really that simple, usually. But then we’d be getting into a whole can of worms about marketing and branding that really don’t make sense for a non-profit fan website.

          I still think if you rationalize it as representing part of a map’s scheme as well as a lambda, it makes perfect sense. Though now I think it may be too simplistic.

          1. It’s not really that simple, usually.

            Nothing is, but having worked in promotions and marketing for a few years, I can say with confidence, I’m more interested in a simple but memorable logo rather than one with an obvious connection to the subject matter.

            I still think if you rationalize it as representing part of a map’s scheme

            That was never my objective and to be honest, I don’t see it that way at all.

            1. Nothing is, but having worked in promotions and marketing for a few years, I can say with confidence, I’m more interested in a simple but memorable logo rather than one with an obvious connection to the subject matter.

              A little bit of an aside, but I didn’t know you were a fellow marketeer! That’s certainly a reasonable explanation, and like I said, it’s at least more unique than the typical lambdas or Freeman images. Although, for all my qualms with LambdaGeneration, their logo is certainly memorable despite using that same imagery.

    2. Yes, I changed it. It’s part of a lambda.

      1. I never would have guessed that.

        Of course, it took me years to figure out what the heck Steam’s logo actually was.

        1. It took me years to realize why it was called Steam.

  4. grabbie

    Are you going to post the hangover mod?

    1. Yep, hopefully later today.

      1. grabbie

        awesome, thanks Phillip.

  5. Thought you might want to see this…

  6. Fallout 4. Man, that was a disappointing game. Streamlined to a fault, it has a real lack of narrative depth. Most of the dialog choices you make are phony, leading to the same end result whether you like it or not (which is really disingenuous when you think about it). You are almost never given the opportunity to do anything other than shoot your way out of a situation.

    And yes, the shooting is much better than previous games and is consistently fun, but as a Fallout game? I expected more than what I got. I expected meaningful choices that had a lasting effect on the game, I expected towns teeming with interesting NPCs to talk to, I expected interesting Vaults to explore and new creatures to encounter. I got none of this. As with so many triple-A productions these days, I got a game that had no soul behind it.

    1. Zekiran

      While I agree on one hand that the main storyline was pretty vapid and there was absolutely no sense of urgency given the plot itself, I’ve put in more than 170 hours in the game for a reason. There ARE lots of npcs which you can talk to, go on adventures with, and explore their stories. There are also a tremendous number of hidden gems that just… defy the scale of ‘heartbreak versus beauty’. They’re amazing background bits, some very short indeed, and some you really have to work in order to find, but… they’re there.

      I’m thinking they had an entire department doing nothing but placing skeletal remains in interesting positions, and putting teddy bears in compromising situations.

      All in all though – I don’t disagree that it’s a reasonably disappointing *Fallout* game. In that there are only what, 5 Vaults to even bother looking for, and a very lackluster ‘end credits’. But as far as how much fun I’ve had so far, I give it way more than 3 A’s. I do think it tries to do too many different things, but I have a theory about that too.

      I believe it’s a transition between a single player and an mmo style game. Many of the ‘repeatables’ (and there are both too many in quantity and too few in type) are extremely akin to the ‘newspaper/radio’ missions which City of Heroes used to flesh out the level-grinders who wanted to avoid doing ‘real’ written content, and used instead a semi-random generator of “go here/hostage release/fetch/clear all” missions. The implementation in Fallout was… not great. Should have been much better overall for that aspect, and I can think of at least one good way they could have made those feel like you were actually progressing. (Which they did do, for Nick’s background info, if you found some of the items before getting to him.)

      A crafting system which involves stored items, opening options up by finding magazines pertinent to the subject (picket fences, the tattoo and hot rod mags, etc) that add to your base of ‘stuff’ you can put together… Also all very much like an MMO reward system. The only thing that isn’t really ‘mmo-style’ is VATS because that would be almost impossible in anything other than an instanced portion of a server.

      I think it went too many directions too quickly, and while it did many of those things adequately they didn’t stitch them together well enough to form a “Fallout” game. Still though, I’ll be breaking mine in order to build stuff with the settlement system. 🙂

      1. The game does have a certain something that kept me going for over 60 hours. It’s like an open world single player Borderlands or BioShock Infinite in many respects. If you go into it expecting that level of depth, you’ll probably enjoy it. It works on that level. The shooting is fun enough and the variety of enemies and environmental scenarios keep it fresh. It’s still smarter than most triple-A games these days.

        But there are many instances where Fallout 4 didn’t feel like a Fallout game, as if the jaunty music on Diamond City Radio was the only thing that reminded me that, yes, this is Fallout. Often times, I felt I was in a poor man’s version of Mass Effect, Minecraft or BioShock Infinite instead of the bizarre Atomic-Age-gone-wrong world of Fallout. If I wanted that, then I’d just go play those games where these ideas were executed so much better.

        1. I think I’ve come to terms with the main campaign, treating it as a tacked-on element that is completely divorced from the rest of the world. It’s poorly written and offers so few rational options for the player, but because it’s so inconsequential, we can toss it aside like it never happened. FO4 gets pretty much everything else right. And since I’ve probably spend 70% of my time wandering around instead of doing the main quest, that’s okay.

          It makes me wonder if the next Bethesda Fallout will simply do away with the main campaign altogether and focus on the environmental storytelling they are actually good at. I wouldn’t object, at this rate. Maybe you learn about a larger plot as you go along, or maybe you have an event like the Brotherhood of Steel magically arriving one day and you need to figure out why, or maybe the companion quests ARE the quests – but the point is these things “just happen” rather than trying to tell a sweeping, epic story that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

          1. Zekiran

            My ex pointed out that a large number of Bethesda employees’ last project would have been Elder Scrolls Online, which would make sense from the angle that FO4 seems like a hybrid MMO. I would play the crap out of a Fallout MMO though. It might be the one (well, if Elfquest, Harry Potter, or Pokemon ever get legit non-kid mmos…) that could get me to sit down and do almost nothing but crafting, or trading…

    1. Zekiran

      The last development comment was in January of this year, is it actually coming out? It’s been ‘in development’ with huge gaps in communication for over 3 years now.

      1. I spoke to the author yesterday and he said it had taken him about 7 years to get to 70%, so I would say 3 more years and it will be released!

        1. It’ll come out at the same time as Half-Life 3 and my next comic.

  7. Not related to video gaming at all, but my YouTube Squash channel reached 1,000 subscribers today. YAY me.

  8. This made me laugh so much:

  9. First Person to answer the question below wins a copy of The Deer, courtesy of SteamContests.com:

    Which epoch is the game set in?

    Find the answer here: http://goo.gl/XmUHf3This

    1. Can’t believe nobody wants a free game!

      1. Zekiran

        I wouldn’t mind having it, but the link is broken :/ I haven’t had time to look for the answer. Ah!

        The Pleistocene, which kinda makes sense.

        Searching for this game is a bit annoying lol because it’s supposed to be a nice educational thing, but all that comes up are “DEER HUNTER!” games 😀

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