Harmonica Comments

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  • Building a space sim in a post-No Man's Sky world

  • Harmonica 08/10/2016

    @nobloodyname Probably for the best if he can work on it in private. And these things can take a while to recover from.

    I cannot personally imagine the pressure that running a successful Kickstarter actually brings. It's not something I'd ever consider.
    Reply 0
  • Harmonica 08/10/2016

    @adamjorgensen I don't know. I've heard that he is still working on it. At any rate, it is not like his engine is becoming depreciated any time soon, so he can take his time! Reply 0
  • Harmonica 08/10/2016

    I guess simulation is kind of a nebulous thing now, NMS simulated things but it's not a simulation by name. I think the most exciting in development capital S 'Sim' is Space Engine. Not yet a game, though it has aspirations in that direction, and recent updates actually let you construct ships for the purposes of flying around (at ridiculous impossible speeds!). An amazing piece of a work (by a single developer!), and honestly it's the only thing I miss not being able to run until I upgrade this PC. Exploring the stars was both inspiring and relaxing.

    The other one worth mentioning is Limit Theory. That's a true sim in the tradition of games like Eve and X3. The developer stopped updating publically due to personal issues, but I think the development is ongoing - the YouTube updates are worth checking out to see what he has built - a really incredible modern engine and huge simulation of a sci-fi space faring universe.
    Reply +1
  • Dungeon Keeper (the good one) is free to download on PC

  • Harmonica 08/10/2016

    @jammers101 It's in licensing hell (aka EA's basement filing system), like most of Bullfrog's back catalogue - though it does seem like EA might finally have remembered what a gem it was.

    Magic Carpet remains forgotten, apparently. If nobody else develops a spiritual sequel to that game, don't worry, I'll put one out when I get round to it :)
    Reply +1
  • Harmonica 08/10/2016

    @Nikanoru The Direct3D updated game looked a lot better back then than the DOS version. Just higher res, and supported full rotation and wall height changes, etc. Really nice lighting in particular.

    It actually avoided the 'crappy 3D' syndrome even though it was patched right at the time of the new cards. Most likely not all the effects can be properly rendered, though KeeperFX does a good job.
    Reply 0
  • Harmonica 08/10/2016

    If you want to play skirmish multiplayer against the CPUs, run the game with '-1player' commandline option and set up a multiplayer game. You can do this with the Windows Direct3D version (aka KeeperFX these days - unless you're running Windows 95 in a Virtual PC!) by adding it to the exe shortcut (or the deeper dungeons version if thats provided).

    Outside of IPX multiplayer (!) this was the best mode in the game, since you get to play really long grindy games of Keeper and level up all your creatures and build a massive dungeon. Imps become pretty amazing if you can afford to level them! Flies, not so much :(

    If you're running the vanilla version of this that they released, you can still press ALT+R to use high-res mode. For some reason, you might get performance issues in DosBox depending on your system (and you'll have to speed up your virtual machine).
    Reply 0
  • Forza Horizon 3 review

  • Harmonica 30/09/2016

    From a racing standpoint it sounds great - but I have to ask about the festival stuff. In the first game I found that pretty cheesy and overbearing. Have they toned it down for this outing? Reply 0
  • Minecraft console editions finally get polar bears, beets and banners

  • Harmonica 27/09/2016

    @mattdymond Cross platform is incredibly difficult and time consuming to develop for and support - and it's just one of those cute things that can be done at extreme cost, but doesn't sell any copies. It's not a Microsoft/Sony thing. Reply +1
  • Microsoft on Project Scorpio, PS4 Pro marketing and Xbox tweets

  • Harmonica 22/09/2016

    I'd like locked 60fps at 1080p before people start talking about 4K.

    Yes, 4K is an easier sell than 3D, but they're putting the cart before the horse in exactly the same way. Most people do not have a 4K set, hell, plenty of them only got into HD and Blu-rays in the past few years. The mainstream is very slow to adopt upgraded technologies.

    On PC I still run a 900p display because the performance benefit for cutting nearly 800k pixels is massive (2+ quality steps up and 10-15fps in most games of this and last generation).

    I'm a cinephile and an early adopter but 4K is only a real option for those with money to burn. It's not going to be relevant for years. Seeing films in the cinema and watching the Blu-ray in HD is still the best value for money.
    Reply -3
  • Peter Molyneux's new game The Trail gets stealth release in the Philippines

  • Harmonica 07/09/2016

    I expect that Molyneux is not in dire need of revenue despite the many fundraising campaigns and botched releases, so he can put out games for free, but I want PM to give me a game that he feels happy to ask for money for, and I feel happy giving him money for, and that I can pay for.

    These free to play mobile things are not doing it. Put a proper PC game out Peter and ask for Ł30. Buy the rights to Magic Carpet and make it happen.
    Reply +2
  • The battle to fix Britain's internet heats up

  • Harmonica 06/09/2016

    We know that the geography of Britain and the fact that we were amongst the first to have phone lines put in has made it unfortunately more difficult and more costly to upgrade this infrastructure over the years. If you're in a rural area you need to get out and talk to people and organise in order to get your local provider to upgrade to faster broadband or fibre. Even in the case of BT - if you get names on a list, they will (eventually) get round to providing a faster service. It's a profitable venture for them even if the terrain is awkward. Reply 0
  • Worms WMD review

  • Harmonica 01/09/2016

    Need to hear about how the matchmaking functions if it's actually a thing - I'm not sitting around in lobbies waiting for people in this day and age. If it's the case that they're still relying on lobbies then the game will, as usual, be absolutely dead in a month or two.

    Secondly, the level generation algorithm. Some of the worms games have generated repetitive barely distinguishable levels, and some of them, like the classic Reunited/Reinforcements and Worms World Party have been excellent at making varied, often unplayable and quirky, levels.
    Reply 0
  • Castle of Illusion remake will be removed from sale on Friday

  • Harmonica 01/09/2016

    This is why commercial licensing is a relic of another era and needs to stop being supported. If you're a creative you need to think long and hard about whether you want people to be able to experience your stuff decades from now - ie, open source and creative commons 'un-licensing' are the way forward, and in most in the spirit of progressive art. Reply +5
  • Pokémon Go Articuno pair hope for normality after "madness" of internet spotlight

  • Harmonica 04/08/2016

    Could have been a golden opportunity to create a bit of a story and history for their new game. Remove it, don't remove it, whatever, make a story out of it. Could have gone down in gaming folklore. Well, it will, for all the wrong reasons.

    Don't just come out and tell people it was a mistake, you goofed, it meant nothing. Makes you realise that when devs get into these positions of making these kind of games, it's largely pot luck and has barely any relation to their skills as designers or creatives. Niantic are clueless amateurs.
    Reply +2
  • One of the biggest Twitch streamers bites the dust as Valve's CS:GO gambling crackdown continues

  • Harmonica 20/07/2016

    @Samael_Blackwing Don't be discouraged from starting your own YouTube channel! If you enjoy something enough to share it with others, you WILL find an audience! And that's how you stand out - by being genuine and doing something you love. Reply +5
  • Harmonica 20/07/2016

    @arcam Yeah, the DOTA sister site too. It's a shame that they're getting caught up in this but I guess that's the pitfall of running a gambling and trading co-venture on the same site - no matter how legit they are.

    On top of the gambling side of things, they've supported the item trading aspect of these games for years, and done a good job with it, neither CSGO or Dota would have been playable from an item trading perspective without sites like Dota2Lounge/CSGOLounge. There would be no other way of actually trading items 'like for like' with other players if sites like this didn't exist.

    It's long been a sticking point that Valve has never supported item trading in client, and of course they wouldn't, because they'd rather people pay through the nose for chests and buy things on the Steam Market.

    Shutting down these sites must be such a boon for them. I bet they're delighted they can squash them under the same banner of ethical responsibility.

    I just hope that the TF2 sites survive this purging. Life after hats is a terrifying thought.
    Reply +2
  • Fallout: New Vegas mod maker asks: did Fallout 4 DLC rip me off, or was it just "inspired" by my work?

  • Harmonica 16/07/2016

    Title: 'mod maker asks: did Fallout 4 rip me off'

    Article: "You'd think, given the similarities between Autumn Leaves and Brain Dead, that Veer would be upset and perhaps accuse Bethesda of ripping him off. But he says he's 'perfectly okay'."

    So in reality the mod maker is not actually 'asking whether they ripped him off', as you stated in the title. He doesn't mention being 'ripped off' or anything similar in his piece in ModDB. In fact, as you say, he seems happy to have given obvious inspiration to Bethesda's writing staff.

    Maybe you could try to be a little less inflammatory.
    Reply +7
  • Elite: Dangerous' latest expansion caused AI spaceships to unintentionally create super weapons

  • Harmonica 03/06/2016

    Kind of sad that they retconned it all so quickly without giving things a chance to shake out. Okay so it's bugged and not working as intended, but they could have made gradual fixes rather than yanking it all.

    There's every chance that the playerbase could have come up with a way to patrol trade routes in order to give the traders free passage. That's the sort of thing that happened in EVE all the time back in the day and it's the reason people still play the game. Elite desperately needs something like this to make it a bit more exciting. It was the first thing that made me seriously consider start playing it again. They are just far too kid-gloves with their design.
    Reply 0
  • Valve fires Dota2 commentator, Gabe Newell calls him "an ass"

  • Harmonica 29/02/2016

    @Perjoss Play exclusively with friends of the same skill level and immediately mute the opposing team when you start the match. Dota is a fun game and you'd have a riot.

    Obviously it shouldn't come to this, and sadly it's relatively difficult to find four friends who play the game and have the same skill as you, especially if you're just starting out. But hey - maybe you have four friends who also don't play the game but are willing to give it a try? Again - mute the opposition and go nuts, I can almost guarantee you'll love it.

    Until you can play exclusively with friends on your team, you will find most games someone will behave badly and you're going to have to learn to instinctively mute them at the first sign of trouble. Again - you shouldn't have to be exposed to this but the playerbase is just that unsocialised...
    Reply 0
  • Eurogamer says farewell to Dan Whitehead

  • Harmonica 18/12/2015

    Cheers Dan! Reply 0
  • Fallout 4 patch 1.02: the good, the bad and the ugly

  • Harmonica 14/12/2015

    Still haven't experienced these Xbox performance issues to the degree EG mentions.

    The gun taking a few second to appear thing happens maybe once a session when you first load the game, never after that.

    The hitching in the built up city areas goes away completely if you stop for half a second to let it load in properly (or just tolerate dropping a few frames for a second or two while it loads).

    Diamond City doesn't drop any frames for me either. It looks relatively plain compared to visuals on PC (a more troubling problem with the lighting design/implementation on console), but it's not a performance killer.

    Fallout 4 performs better or as well as any console release from the past decade. Other than that, I haven't experienced any performance issues. There's some poor implementation of low quality ambient occlusion leading to shadow pop-in at mid-distance, and the pathfinding is shocking (same as on PC) but that's about it.

    If your Xbox is completely knackered out after daily use since launch, or the hard drive is full to the brim, maybe you will run into issues, but you'll also run into issues with most other games you're playing. If you've already played n other games recently and had no issues you probably won't have any with Fallout 4 either. These are not a problem with the game, otherwise everyone would be experiencing it, they're problems with specific degrading or weaker hardware.

    If anyone is on the fence about buying this on console, there's not much reason to be.
    Reply 0
  • Xbox One wireless controller adaptor now supports Windows 7, 8.1

  • Harmonica 11/12/2015

    This is awesome because it removes one of the two remaining reasons I had for being on the fence about installing Windows 10 on my next PC (the other being the DX12 support). The privacy/security issues of that OS are just far too grievous to hand-wave at this point (anything you create is owned by Microsoft). Guess I'll happily go with Windows 7, again. Reply 0
  • Fallout 4 patch 1.02 stamps out infinite caps glitch

  • Harmonica 10/12/2015

    Patch on console seems to have massively decreased the distance at which objects and shadows will 'fade-in'. Walking around in sunshine you'll now see buildings which appear fully lit suddenly go completely dark as shadows are loaded in. This and masses more pop-in is noticeable on objects. Also seems like the mid-distance is rendering at lower resolution than it was previously.

    As far as I'm concerned this patch basically ruined the look of the game on console. It went from looking great and playing fine to looking and behaving like Fallout 3.
    Reply +2
  • Harmonica 10/12/2015

    @NotToday I happen to write software and I know a kludge when I see one. The trick is doing it in a way the user won't notice... Reply 0
  • Harmonica 10/12/2015

    @null And across the board even on PC they removed the shadow effects. Incredibly poor effort.

    Compromising your artistic vision for the sake of a few fps rather than actually finding the root cause of the problem and solving it.

    I played through the plant on console. It had some frame slowdown. It wasn't terrible. It was still playable. Given the choice I'd rather have it looking atmospheric and moody than 'allbright 1' with +10fps. This just seems like a gut-reaction fix that came down from the publisher wing: 'we need to do something about these bits in reviews that talk about bad performance'.

    Kids receiving the game at Christmas are not going to give a damn about the Corvega plant being a bit laggy, but everyone is going to notice the fact that it looks like a child's drawing visually when you remove the shadows.

    C'mon Bethesda, you can do better.
    Reply +1
  • Harmonica 10/12/2015

    @TheMightyEthan Bethesda are obsessive about fixing exploit bugs in their game, regardless of whether it lowers the enjoyment of their players.

    In this case it's no big loss, given that it's easy to legitimately make 1000s of caps, whether through settlements or scavving - and it's a fun part of the game that they obviously want to push players into using. Still, I don't really agree that forcing gameplay on the player in a single player game post-release is the correct way to develop things. But as I said, they are idealogical about fixing their code.

    I'm surprised that the settlement build limit bug wasn't squashed but I fully expect them to 'fix' that - and upset everyone in the process.
    Reply 0
  • Jon Blyth on: Microsoft Jackpot

  • Harmonica 29/08/2015

    @B1ad3runner I don't feel like there's anything nearly as pernicious in World of Tanks. The amounts you might spend (and you can just as easily spend nothing) are trivial compared to the value people might actually get out of what they're buying (ie, buying a tank that you might play with for hundreds of hours is something you can reasonably attribute value to).

    In Jackpot it seems like you're paying to get screwed with no actual take way value.

    I tend to agree with the article that the corporate/design philosophy that has people work on these things and put them out there is reprehensible, but it's those reviews that show up the real worst of humanity. People who won't help themselves and want to drag others down with them.
    Reply +1
  • An hour with Randy Pitchford

  • Harmonica 25/07/2015

    Aww it's so cute that all the positive, intelligent responses in this thread get negged down! As usual such a nice insight into the knuckle dragging comments thread community. And not one single one of you can bring yourself to type a reply! How does it feel to be so utterly devoid of reason that all you can do mash a button? Pretty bad, I guess.

    Keep on hating on, such vindication is hard to come by.

    And to all those spreading love, insight, and good discussion, know that your comments are read and digested by those that matter.
    Reply -3
  • Harmonica 24/07/2015

    @yoomazir Sadly a lot of people can only contribute negativity. What gets them up in the morning is the idea of getting others down. Reply -13
  • Harmonica 24/07/2015

    @Kasjer The trouble with defending Alien3 on horror terms is that Alien isn't a horror film, it's a suspense thriller. They're distinct things. Sure, there were elements of horror (body horror, sexual horror, etc) but it was by no means a horror film. Alien3, maybe it's trying to be a horror film. I think the genre kind of got lost in the mix.

    The main problem with taking Alien3 on its own terms is that there was a certain naivety in how Fincher wants it to be judged in that way, basically acanonical and a fresh start. There was a certain naivety and youthful arrogance in him that he thought he could take a franchise film and make this capsule that would stand alone from the previous versions.

    Apart from that, you're right, judging things by comparison is lazy and doesn't really get to the truth of the matter.
    Reply -3
  • Harmonica 24/07/2015

    Randy comes across very well in this. Very articulate. Beatles analogies are perhaps a bit much, and there's some ego cushioning and smoke and mirrors, of course, that comes with the job, but a lot of what he said is well put.

    And, y'know, for the record he's right. People are nuts to judge a game on the perceived differences between a dev build and the final product, rather than judging the final product itself. On its own terms, A:CM was playable. Mediocre, mostly, but it had its moments. I took it at face value and I enjoyed it on those terms, like a rational person should do.

    Anyway, at the end of the day, most sane people would rather be either that person emailing in screenshots every week, or to have moved on with their lives the moment the game came out. It's the true neer do wells that make it their life mission to be negative about everything.
    Reply -12
  • Project Zomboid is getting co-op map making

  • Harmonica 21/07/2015

    The Indie Stone are good guys and I know they'll get there eventually, but I agree, the NPCs are the biggest thing holding me back from not playing it regularly. If I had a private server hosted I might play multiplayer with friends but without rival or allied NPC gangs roaming around, the gameplay kind of lacks a narrative beyond 'get food and don't die'. The map isn't really the issue for me since it's already huge.

    At least a lot of the components are in place now. And there is proper progress being made month on month, unlike a few games I could mention which have not made visible progress in years.
    Reply 0
  • DICE: why Star Wars Battlefront AT-ATs are on-rails

  • Harmonica 26/06/2015

    @TheDarkSide I agree with your sentiment but for the record that is basically exactly how we felt about the original Battlefront games. And then we tried to play them online and for 90% of games they were a mess. Some of the worst netcode and general online support and design ever, despite the fact that yeah, it was Star Wars, they got the license and they made it look attractive. Reply +1
  • Harmonica 26/06/2015

    I'd prefer to hear that they tried it and it didn't work, rather than about them being big and bulky and that being the reason. The best justification they could have offered is that playing the AT-AT's properly was in itself like being on rails, because there wasn't much scope for player flair or doing things differently. That would be a more understandable reason to not allow players to take control.

    Mainly it seems like old Battlefront games were scripted, they've followed that lead rather than trying something innovative, and so the big assets are going to be scripted. The old Star Wars Battlefront games had many issues so if they've obviously used them as design templates, that's not particularly inspiring. Although a visually impressive Star Wars experience is nice, I'd actually like to see them shake things up a bit more than just giving the game series a new coat of paint.

    The justification that players might lose if they play badly also seems questionable. You can very easily lose games of Battlefield (Rush in particular) in the first 30 seconds of the game if you take an asset like a tank and run into into a mine. Or even if your team fails to rush (hence the game mode) the correct objective en masse and hangs back, you have more than likely lost that round. Actually it's one of the strengths of good online competitive games that there's something at stake and you have to play well to win (I mean, obviously right?). Curtailing the ability to interact with the battlefield is generally a negative, there's even some Battlefield maps that swing in this direction, where essentially the odds are really stacked against you ever losing a round as long as you attritionally grind down the defenders, regardless of actually playing well. Those maps are much less fun.

    I'd like to be given the opportunity to play the game badly and lose, as well as to play the game differently and take advantage of it.
    Reply +3
  • Fan attempts to pre-order Fallout 4 with bottle caps

  • Harmonica 17/06/2015

    'I put some bottle caps in a box, I'm totally original, my Steam ID is... please give me free stuff.'

    And then adding that he's essentially blackmailing them into giving him the game.

    No, this is not how you're meant to do things.

    Bethesda can win my plaudit by blanking him completely.
    Reply +7
  • XCOM 2 likely won't launch with gamepad support

  • Harmonica 06/06/2015

    @williamarthurfenton You'll obviously have no problem explaining which elements of the sophisticated strategy of 'moving dudes behind cover', 'firing at aliens' and 'hiring new recruits' are compromised by using a gamepad in the case of XCOM.

    Oh wait, there aren't any.

    The units move on a grid. The rest of the game is menu screens. There's nothing that can't be easily translated for gamepad control.
    Reply +12
  • Harmonica 06/06/2015

    I feel like someone should tell them that in the year of our lord 2015 people play PC games with gamepads. Incredible concept, using gamepads with computers, we've only been doing it since the 80s after all. Reply +12
  • Rockstar launches BBC lawsuit over Grand Theft Auto drama

  • Harmonica 21/05/2015

    @liveswired You can very much make documentaries and drama about whatever you want. People don't have to approve it. Reply +1
  • Homophobic and transphobic game removed from Steam Greenlight

  • Harmonica 06/05/2015

    The bigger issue here is that Valve are apparently afraid of moderating their own services until there's a public outcry, at which point, they'll go with whatever the public response is. This kind of attitude is carried across how they manage their game environments, too.

    I feel like they need to be setting higher standards, and absolutely nobody has a problem with them stating 'this is our house, you play by our rules'. Nobody, or at least nobody that matters, would have a problem with them preemptively removing this game from the Greenlight process.

    This is a billion dollar company that can't be bothered with moderating their services which are used by tens of millions of people daily. It's kind of poor.
    Reply +4
  • Winners might use drugs

  • Harmonica 09/04/2015

    @willys You can't use banned drugs in sports, legitimately or otherwise. Reply 0
  • Harmonica 09/04/2015

    Interesting, important article.

    Esports really has nothing to lose and everything to gain from drugs screening, I think it's something we should demand as fans and players alike.
    Reply 0
  • Borderlands 2 writer regrets nearly silent protagonists

  • Harmonica 17/03/2015

    @Ffordesoon The difficulty of giving your player character a personality is when it's written in conflict with the player's own desires, intentions and idealogies.

    There is not a direct analogy between writing in other media and games. It's not inherently a negative in games to have a player protagonist who is less authored.
    Reply +3
  • Harmonica 17/03/2015

    @ThinkingGamR I think your actions in the game speak to your character far more than what the character looks like. Reply 0
  • Harmonica 17/03/2015

    More accurately: we're not the characters we play (if we play a character).

    If you have a silent protagonist, it's a player-character, it's deliberately blurring the line between the two.

    As a player I feel far more comfortable playing the 'role' of a silent protagonist, than a protagonist stuffing words into my mouth.
    Reply +2
  • 1.34GB Battlefield 4 Winter Patch rolls out

  • Harmonica 03/03/2015

    @AlucardSX It's evolved into a great game, however I still feel the map design overall is not as strong as those in BF3 (kind of understandable given that game had 3 or 4 classic maps). Reply 0
  • Video: The Best Sex I've Ever Had (In Games)

  • Harmonica 25/02/2015

    Wrote an intelligent post about sex on EG. Thanks for all the delicious downvotes, why don't you ignoranuses try to hit the reply button just once? I know, discussing things is scary. Reply 0
  • Harmonica 24/02/2015

    @Krane To the extent that Witcher's sex is sex for the sake of it, and pretty full on sex, yes.

    However I'm still not really sure why it needs to be in the game and tied to a reward mechanic. Have your unabashed softcore porn sequences in your game but just have it happen.
    Reply -2
  • Harmonica 24/02/2015

    Coming Out on Top looks solid from the int-fiction game perspective, but I'm not sure I could ever get excited by the particular brand of blokes they chose. I mean it's good that the game exists and I can even complain about this at all, but I feel that the top-heavy (hurr durr) muscle bound guys are just a disappointingly played out trope. It's either portraying incredibly vanilla sex, or it's not actually meant to be played by guys.

    The hair customisation options screen is also very weird, and it sort of gives me the impression that it's rather more slanted towards straight women than what you might assume. If that's true I think it's kind of a betrayal of the subject matter, and not really as big a step forward as we might like to think. Not that guys won't play it and enjoy it, but it represents a pretty homogenised lite-erotica impression of what gay sex is. Being able to tailor their particular body hair is not really in line with what I think modern, progressive, accepting sex is about.

    Ultimately I feel the same about sex in games as I do in other mediums - its only use is to get people off, otherwise it's irrelevent. It's one of the most absolutely urbane things that people do, so it's not really interesting or entertaining. It can barely ever be used to forward the plot, and something that does nothing to forward the plot doesn't have merit being included. So essentially, if you're making interactive porn, go nuts, but you'd better make the sex incredible.
    Reply -2
  • Don't buy Darkest Dungeon from the Windows Game Store, dev warns

  • Harmonica 24/02/2015

    It's pretty ridiculous that a company of their size cannot moderate submissions better, or that it takes so long for things to get taken down.

    This was one of the reasons I moved away from Apple. Their store is absolutely clogged up with cloneware and crapware. It's actually pretty much impossible to seriously browse apps that get added to the appstore, which of course makes it really great for the big publishers because they can just get their app reviewed on popular sites, but impossible for smaller indie developers to get noticed.

    Of course, it's the same on Android as well, so really, all these companies are currently behind the game in terms of moderation user content.
    Reply +1
  • Troll deletes 11-year-old's Destiny characters

  • Harmonica 23/02/2015

    @elfergos Times don't change, technology advances, a generation gets older and worries about whatever new technology exists being potentially worrisome for their children.

    Unfortunately it is unlikely that we will avoid this fate, we just won't be talking about illicit VHS watching or sneaking into cinemas or playing videogames, it'll be virtual reality or something.
    Reply 0