Diecast #247: Mailbag!


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Last week I asked for mailbag questions, and you delivered. Well, technically the email system is the one that did the delivering, but you get what I’m saying. Here is over an hour of question-answering.

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Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:
00:00 The Clocks Change

I have run out of ways to make fun of this annoying practice. How disappointing.

00:59 Mailbag: Gaming literacy

Dear Diecast

Do you think that there is such a thing as “gaming literacy” and if so what would the requirements be to be considered “game literate”?

Regards Eric

As promised on the show, here is… this:

Link (YouTube)

09:24 Mailbag: Uplay

Dear Diecast,

Shockingly, UPlay has recently become a functional piece of software. You can now buy (using PayPal, even!), download and execute games with it. Even with my terrible internet connection, I haven’t had any issues with DRM. What gives?

Admittedly, the only two things you can actually buy on it are The UbiSoft Game and Uno, so the platform remains a bit limited.

Can you think of any other examples of a program or service, which has been completely worthless for the best part of a decade, suddenly becoming competent?

Best wishes,


During the show, we made a joke that “this show” was an example of something that started out as useless but then became competent. By “this show” I was referring to the specific episode we were recording. Like, it started out as incompetent as evidenced by my butchering of this email.

When listening to the show after editing, I became paranoid that someone might take this the wrong way and assume “this show” was referring to the Diecast as a whole, and we were joking that the show was terrible when I was working with the previous hosts. Just to be clear: That’s not what I was laughing about and I don’t want anyone to think I was throwing shade at my former collaborators.

18:52 Mailbag: Worldbuilding and also…

Hey Shamus and Paul,

quick question about world-building; I find reading the background about Elder Scrolls games fascinating even though it has paper-thin characters and plot; conversely I don’t care about the world in games like Dragon Age and find the exposition very dull (even though traditionally Bioware has been much better at characters) how do you feel about the two? do you think there’s a right way and a wrong way to do world-building in a fantasy setting?

I always suspected it was partly down to books being read like books in TES games, rather than essentially an Amazon Kindle like the codex in Dragon Age, but just curious if you have some more thoughts on this (or perhaps it’s just down to TES lore being really really meta)

if you’re hurting for another question; we all know about the thermal clip situation in Mass Effect. If you had to retcon a gameplay element of a past game, how would you go about it? Try and brush it under the rug, or just own it and run with it?

many thanks guys,
James Stanfield

The writer I was thinking of during this segment is Michael Kirkbride. Also, here’s the Bob Case video I mentioned:

Link (YouTube)

30:03 Mechanical Retcons.

This question was part of the previous question.

40:31 Mailbag: Raytracing.

Dear Diecast,

Do you think raytracing on the GPU in going to take off, or merely something Nvidia added to the RTX line to be a technical gimmick for this generation?

With great affection,


In this segment I talked about what graphics hardware I’m using. For the record, I’m using a GeForce GTX 780, which was originally released in 2013. So my graphics hardware turns 6 this year. This is certainly the longest a graphics card has ever lasted for me.

Like I said on the show, I still don’t feel a direct need to upgrade. I’m still using a 1080p monitor, so games look fine and play fine. But I’m considering an upgrade just for the sake of screenshots. I don’t want people to accuse me of being unfair to a game and making it look bad because I’m running it on a potato.

But I don’t think the upgrade is going to happen before summer. We’re a one-car family and our 2003 Toyota just crossed the 200,000 mile threshold. It’s getting really expensive to keep the thing on the road and I’m worried about Heather getting stranded someplace during bad weather. So we have to buy a car before we can buy new graphics hardware.

I know I make fun of how hard it is to shop for graphics hardware, but that’s nothing compared to the stress of buying vehicles. Putting that much money into a single purchase always freaks me out.

So we’re going to have a couple more months of potato-rendered screenshots before I manage to upgrade this thing. Your patience is appreciated.

51:44 Mailbag: Next Console gen.

Dear die casters.

The rumor mill is churning and the reveal of the next console generation draws ever closer. As such, I’d like to ask what you think Sony and Microsoft should do or will do for next gen.

Microsoft have bought a bunch of studios recently, so I think it’s a safe bet that they’ll actually have some video games to sell on their next console. Novel, I know.

Sony on the other hand could very well sit blind on their high horse and blunder through the generation, as they did with the PS3. But if they don’t do that, I hope the rumours of a backwards compatible PS5 is true. Even just PS4 games would be a huge boon for the system. There’s even talk of a console with support for ALL the previous Playstations, which sounds as amazing as it is unlikely.

What are your thoughts?


56:26 Mailbag: Battletech

Dear Diecast,

I’ve been playing Battletech this month. Because Shamus has also played Battletech (and because you said that the mailbag was empty) I have two very important giant-robot related questions for you.

Question 1: Gun hands or people hands?

Question 2: Chicken legs or people legs?

Thank you.


1:00:21 Mailbag: Open-source remakes.

Dear Diecast
Have you paid any attention to open-source remakes/clones of old games, such as OpenMW, OpenRA, or OpenXcom? What’s you’re opinion on them and are there any such projects you find particularly interesting, or any games you would particularly want to see remade in this manner?

Regards, Spodah

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