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Tycho / 2 days ago

Because he liked Andy Weir's first book The Martian - and because the cover shows a person that appears to be in space - Galabriel purchased Project Hail Mary immediately. He has already developed a robust headcanon that has come to define the product.

I just emerged from a round of a game called Demeo, out for Oculus Quest and SteamVR currently, and even if it's a little young and content-wise it feels close to an Early Access initial drop, they did so much right in this thing.

I play a lot of boardgames digitally, most of them realized through something like Tabletop Simulator, which those in its hallowed cloister call TTS. It's a generalized framework for multiplayer manipulation of a 3D environment, and depending on the mod there are various levels of scripting - and, uh, legality - involved, but being generalized often means that it doesn't feel particularly custom. I certainly don't mean to complain about the UI rigor of my pirated games. That sounds churlish. I must mean to say that when something like Demeo comes along - a co-op dungeon crawler that really feels like I'm standing around a fancy pants, like, Wyrmwood gaming table moving our figs around a bunch of Dwarven Forge shit - the distinction is stark.

Part of that comes from the fact that it is in VR, and I haven't been able to sit around a table like this for a while; that might compound the experience they've delivered somewhat. Eventually it'll be out (with cross-buy) for the regular Rift, and for regular computers, but crossplay already works because if you don't do that for VR you're probably in huge trouble. There's only so many of these perverts (perVRts? Is that anything?) and you can't really play favorites unless somebody is paying you to do that.

Here's how the game works. You choose one of four classes, each with its own custom cards, and you pick up and drop your figurine in the range of movement available to you. You have two action points a round, which you can see on your wrist - it's like a virtual bracelet that also tells you where you're at in initiative, and what's coming next. Between levels, you spend the gold you find laying around on additional cards. That's not new. You know about that. But the tabletop metaphor and its physicality is always grounding the whole thing. When I want to choose a card to use, I just look down at my open palm and they're all there. I hold the card out over the board, and a line goes down to the grid beneath so I know exactly what's gonna happen and where. Then, if it's an attack, I literally - well, figuratively I guess. I literally roll the figurative dice? That's it. I roll the dice as is good and proper and we see what's next. I forget the table and even the game. This is a real thing I'm doing in a place that I am at.

Promises about future content, I mean… I certainly like to see it. Right now it's a three level, randomized dungeon crawl in single or multi, with a boss I've already seen and future content teased. But the platform! The execution! The lovingly rendered basement! This little game has earned time and care. I want a loving bird to sit on it until it is strong enough to live.

(CW)TB out.

How I fell into another GD Hobby.

I can’t explain how I end up falling into these hobbies or why I tend to get sucked in by them. I watched Ford vs. Ferrari on a plane ride and became obsessed with motorsports and eventually sim racing. That was over a year ago now and I still race every week with the Penny Arcade iRacing league. I’ve met so many cool people and had so much fun thanks to sim racing that it is hard for me to imagine the last year without it. It really was just dumb luck that I stumbled into it and my most recent obsession Gunpla is no different. 

Sony said they were going to close the Vita store so I busted out my old system to make sure I had everything on there I wanted. I ended up having a lot of fun with it and got back into a few old games. I asked people to share their favorite Vita games with me on Twitter and since I thought the store was closing I picked up a few games that were highly recommended but I had never heard of. One of them was Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Force which I grabbed even though I had absolutely zero experience with Gundam. 

The game was actually really fun. Even as someone who didn’t know a thing about the setting, I was having a good time piloting these big ass robots around. So my next thought was, “maybe I should figure out what Gundam is.” and that is how I ended up watching the original animated series that aired back in the late 70’s. I was hooked from the very first episode. Even 40 years later I was 100% invested in Amuro and the story of White Base. I shotgunned the old episodes while investigating more modern series as well. I was talking about the fact that I was getting into Gundam on a stream one day when someone in chat mentioned that the model kits are built entirely without glue. Now I was no Gundam fan but I am a nerd and I had obviously seen a few of those kits before. I honest to God thought this comment in the chat was a joke. I built airplane models as a kid and they used super glue. The only snap together models I was familiar with were the Snap-Tite kits from Revell which I think we can all agree are a fucking joke. 

After the stream I could not shake the idea that maybe it wasn’t a joke. Did those models really go together without glue? I went to Google and that is how I discovered Gunpla. Pretty soon Noah and I built our first beginner level kit and now I’m hooked. I’ve been using my 1:30 to 3PT stream on Tuesdays to build kits and just like with sim racing I seem to have inspired others to come along for the ride with me. At least this one is less expensive than sim racing! These kits start around $10 and it’s not hard to find really cool ones for around $20.  They come in a variety of levels that determine their overall difficulty size and detail as well as price. I am currently building models from the High Grade category which is just one step up from beginner. Next I could move to Real Grade which are the same size but more intricate. There are also Master Grade kits which are a bit bigger and more detailed. Then you have Perfect Grade which are super articulated and often come with LED lights and other doodads. They also have a Super Deformed grade which look sort of like very detailed POP figures that you build. 

I’ve only tackled the HG kits for now but I plan on moving up the ladder when I feel ready. On tomorrow’s stream I’ll be trying out a different line of models actually called 30 Minute Missions. These are still from Bandai just like the Gundam kits but they are not based on any cartoons. These models are designed to be built fast and customized with different parts you purchase in add on kits. They offer a core line up of robots in various colors as well as tons of accessory packs with different armor and weapons. We will be building the Alto tomorrow as Noah already claimed the Cielnova for himself. Noah had so much fun building it he used his birthday money to order himself another one from Gundam Planet. Turns out they are PA readers and reached out to let me know they just got a couple brand new arrivals in the 30 minute mission line that they tossed in the box for us! So I’ll probably be showing those off on stream as well once that package arrives. I’d also like to mention that I made some purchases from Newtype and they are going to give away this awesome HG kit of the classic Gundam to a lucky winner during my Gunpla stream tomorrow. I’ll just be picking someone at random during the show so be sure and tune in. In my limited experience so far the specialized online retailers seem to have much better prices on kits than Amazon does and they are small family operations which is nice. I actually just built that exact same kit over the weekend and loved it! Here is mine:

Thanks to everyone offering tips and tricks on Gunpla as well as suggestions on what series I should watch next. I just wrapped up Gundam Unicorn over on Netflix and that led to me having to buy a couple more models. You absolutely don’t have to watch the shows to get into Gunpla but it doesn't hurt. Buying the ones you think look cool and then having fun building them is plenty. There is a reason this brand has lasted for over 40 years though and I’m starting to understand why they build life size versions of these things in Japan. If this hobby is an iceberg I am just exploring the tip and I'm already enamored with it. Feel free to join me on stream tomorrow if you’re wondering what it’s all about. 


-Gabe out

Tycho / 5 days ago

The Division kicks ass. All of it. I would say, purely in the interest of bet-hedging, that the second game sorta failed on the narrative aspects up front but then began to deliver on the back as content continued to arrive. So, let's go back to the first part. It kicks ass.

You can say that you aren't interested in cargo pants as an incentive, but cargo pants are definitely not the game's marquee rewards. I got pretty cranked up off the highest level content the game had to offer, and pulling interesting traits out of gear to jam into another piece of gear made the loot chase valid and operational even when I was fresh to death, dressed to impress the rest because there was always an edge somewhere in the build I could sharpen.

Now, along with a roadmap that describes not just the future of The Division 2, The Division Mobile, a novel and a Netflix movie, there is also tucked in there something called The Division: Heartland. Set aside for the moment that The Heartland has concerns as a gameplay space. What is it?

We don't know yet, other than the fact that it's freemium, which… even by itself I don't hate. My usage pattern involved buying mad crates already when I was super into it, for a game I purchased at retail price! So, yeah. That would slot nicely. Plus, maybe if the game didn't cost anything, more people would have an opportunity to figure out how rad it is.

I think a lot of people are looking at the Call of Duty X: Annual Release slash Warzone model, and saying… I would like what they're having, which requires a level of development throughput most publishers can't match. Ubisoft can. Paul Tassi at Forbes (who I think is quite good just generally) is fantasizing about Heartland as an F2P imagining of The Division's old Survival mode, a brilliant take on the Battle Royale thing that is closer to Tarkov than the more traditional versions. It was ridiculously smart. I'd love this as a direction, especially if it's acting as a the free gateway to the core game and recognizes that I want to be a fan of both.

Shit! It's almost time for our Motorsport Manager stream! After a shocking First Place in this season's Test Track, the team was blown out of the water in the new single round Qualifying. I have no idea what these two pieces of strangely discordant information mean for today's race. Maybe you can tell us - it starts, essentially, now.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 1 week ago

Once he told me that he'd done actual online research into the nuance and mores of Gunpla - specifically around what gesticulations were required for entry into the sacred realm - I knew that's what the strip was about.

He doesn't have a lot of use for things like this generally. But when he takes up a hobby, and the hobbies he's taken to over The Longest Year are indistinguishable from kink, he is almost hyper-aware of the whorls and hidden chambers that stymie and defy the acolyte. iRacing and Gunpla - both of which have been rigorously catalogued on Twitch - are hobbies whose quadrants one may enhance almost in perpetuity. Technical, yet not without opportunities for expression, they're almost perfect hobbies for him. I had a Veritech model as a kid - not the clever Gunpla, glueless, satisfying snap kind but the very glue, novice ruins their model and doesn't return to the hobby for three decades kind. I think I would consider getting into it if I didn't find just watching him do it so satisfying. You may find this also. And now he has one of those document cameras that hooks up via HDMI so shit's crisp.

GOLGOLFA Returns today at 2pm PDT on the Twinch, we will have entire lineup in tow, and I can't stress enough that this is the first game where we will be weaned fully from Putt Preview - from witchcraft, and the hellborne elixir called Certainty. For a time, we consorted with fortune-tellers and haruspices because we were terrified of the unknown, and we clung to their prophecies as shipwrecked men might cling to a tile in the bobbing mosaic their vessel had become. Then, we used them, but only in a limited way - something with the dynamics of an Ult. We have now put away childish things. We play PGA Tour 2K1's Alternate Shot mode, a 2v2 mode that is essentially co-op golf, where you have to hit whatever your teammate gave you. It sometimes involves yelling. It's almost universally a good time.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 1 week ago

I would like to play Returnal! I think because I have been considering the ongoing plague, and also because I don't own any next generation systems, I guess I didn't know it was seventy dollars. Because of where I'm at as a person, I purchase and play roguelite deckbuilders almost exclusively, and everything else is probably played on Game Pass or free somewhere, so I hadn't really felt that yet.

Then again, who knows. Any time spent on the game's Reddit or Twitter will reveal players scourged by locks that range from soft, medium, and hard, grim prophecies about the use of cosmetics ("don't"), and other things. It hasn't broken my desire yet; I've feasted on streams, outsourcing these frustrations to others while I watch the roguelike bullet hell fireworks bloom and recede. I sort of love Housemarque; unapologetic arcade fetishism and particles dancing to form what can only be called drugs. I think I'd like the game to work, though. Maybe by the time a human being can find a PS5, such things will be a memory.

Now that the preparations are finished, the sacred oils applied, and the holy raiment of war donn'd, I can name the enemy: Gary Whitta, the one sages call Abaddon, chief of the demon locusts and sovereign of the bottomless pit. And always, always in tow: his plump cherub the Not-Smith, that unmaker of being, bobbing drunkenly in mid-air just behind. Well, no more: know that when the bell strikes at 2pm PDT this Wednesday, their reckoning will be upon them. We're also getting rid of what were called Witch Lines, the limited-use putting aids that helped ferry wayward balls to their waiting homes. In the exciting trailer version of this paragraph, this would be where we suggested that things had just gotten real.

(CW)TB out.

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