Diecast #242: Deepmind, Anthem, Win10, Mailbag


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Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:
00:00 DeepMind – The learning AI for Starcraft

Since recording this, I’ve watched the DeepMind show match between the AI and a couple of pro players. I think I’ll cover this topic in my column next week.

05:27 Chainmail Bikini Will Return

Like I said on the show, I don’t want to back-date them into the archives. At the same time, I don’t want to post them three times a week or they’ll drown out the rest of the content. Having thought about this some more, I think I’ll be posting the comics once a week, on Sundays.

07:30 Paul introduced his kids to Portal

As an aside, here’s a reference to the Chime problem I had.

14:51 Anthem First Impressions

Link (YouTube)

In the public reception of Anthem, I was hoping for one of two things:

  1. A return to form for BioWare, taking their classic worldbuilding and blending it with modern looter-shooter gameplay.
  2. A buggy disjointed disaster of a game with an embarrassing story and terrible gameplay that punishes the studio for dumping their longtime fans to chase the shooter market.

Instead, it looks like we’re getting the least interesting result. From the the first impressions, it sounds like Anthem is competent but ordinary. It will probably carve out a modest chunk of the Destiny / Warframe market and coast along as a perfectly serviceable entry in the genre. (Until EA closes it down in disappointment because it didn’t make a billion dollars.)

22:15 Fallout 76 Multiplayer System

Link (YouTube)

I keep promising myself that I’ll stop covering this game because there’s no point in beating a dead horse. But damn it, this dead horse was so smug and entitled that I just can’t resist a few more swings.

30:13 Windows 10 on Old Computers

Paul tried to install Windows 10 on these old machines:

  • 2017 Refurbished: HP Compaq 6200 Pro SFF PC Dual Core Intel G620 2.6GHz 2GB RAM 250GB HDD
  • 2007 Intel Core 2 quad Q6600 @ 2.4 GHz, 4GB ram, a 250GB SSD (new 2014), an optical drive, and a Refurbished: EVGA GeForce GT 630 DirectX 11 02G-P3-2639-RX 2GB 128-Bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 graphics card (new 2014)
  • 2005 AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual 4200+ at 2.2GHz, 1.37 GB ram (on three sticks), 2x 300GB hard drives, integrated graphics, a special Sound Blaster X-Fi module, and not one but two optical drives!

43:05 Mailbag: Measuring Story Quality


With all this recent talk about stories, plot-holes and their impact on the quality of said stories, it got me thinking… So, ok, contrivance’s or plot-hole’s impact is negative on the story. But lets imagine there are two stories of equal length, both without plot-holes (for example, they say Alien and The Thing are both without plot holes, and roughly of equal length). What metrics could be used to measure which story is better? I have few ideas (one of them listed below), but I want to hear your (podcast members) take on it as well

I also has another idea (which is more applicable more to movies, than anything else, I gather). So, there are movies with relatively thin plot, but their strength is in great action scenes, that are enabled by said plot (let’s say, Predator, The Raid or half the Jackie Chan movies). So, when I thought about first question, one of the potential metric that popped up in my head, is the amount and the intensity of conflicts presented in the story per time unit. Individual action scene is the short story on itself, isn’t it? I can show you, say, the plane scene in Octopussy, where Bond (and the stuntman) climbs on top the plane and you’ll get the complete idea what’s happening, what’s in stake and how it will affect Bond if he fails. And good action scene is always about how tense the situation for the hero, and bad ones, outside of bad cinematography, have little danger for the protagonist (as an example, in SPECTRE, Bond shoots bad guys in villain’s lair with so much ease, its boring). So, the popular opinion (I think), is that plot in these movies is weak or not great or not worth mentioning. But I’m starting to think that this is the other way around. If the main story enables the writer to give you such amount of tense and inventive visual mini-stories (Bond on the plane, Bond runs on alligators, Bond climbing the mountain and someone cuts his rope), isn’t it the sign of great storytelling? I’m not sure myself yet, but I think that’s an interesting idea to explore.

Best regards, DeadlyDark

56:26 Mailbag: 7/10 Scores

Dear Diecast

I have noticed a trend of inflation when it comes to game review scores. These days even a review score of 7/10 is considered rather poor. What do you think is the cause of this and do you think there is a way to fix this?

Regards Eric

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