The RPS Electronic Wireless Show Episode 28

By Kieron Gillen on September 4th, 2009 at 3:05 pm.

It’s been a while since the other two have podcasted. It’s going to be a while yet. But half of the other two and Quinns have got together via the wonders of internetchat to do an electronic wireless show. You can download it here, if you are one of those direct-download sorts. You can also subscribe to it by RSS here, or get it on iTunes from here. Sound quality is a little lower than usual, with some hiss, but everything’s audible, so whining will be frowned at. Kieron will totally buy a better mike soon. Probably this one. No, really.

Topics include, Arkham Asylum, Champions, AI War and much more. The full run-list follows…

00:00: The start, a very good place to start.
00:50: The secrets we have. Games journalist Popbitch. How down market can RPS go?
02:00: How Quinns packs ala Diablo. Quinns man-crushing on Tim Rogers. Kieron’s lack of fashion.
03:05: Quinns has been playing the shit out of Batman: Arkham Asylum. Kieron hasn’t. Alec will be, the bastard. Quinns thinks it’s “tight”.
04:40: How To Negotiate With Terrorists.
07:00: Games Journalists being impressed by basic phenomenological phenomena.
09:40: Back to Batman. Why is it actually good?
13:00: Does the slutiness bother Quinns? And in the Batman game.
14:00: Kieron feels disconnected from pop culture last week because he was playing AI War last weekend. We talk about that, and Quinns’ Iron problem.
15:50: The horror of Astrotrains.
19:15: The limitations of the human brains and strategy games. Kieron’s brain is particularly limited.
25:05: Quinns is playing everything on hard. He tells us about it. Kieron brags a bit about playing Champions. Risk and excitement and similar.
33:00: Best thighs in gaming? We discuss it a bit too seriously.
34:45: When did mature and entertaining games writing become mutually exclusive? Asks the_B. We answer. At length, hailing Consolevania, Old Man Murray and Amiga Power. Kieron also makes himself even less employable by Edge than ever.
41:15: Games Workshop are doing a new version of Space Hulk. We talk about it. Kieron’s still hasn’t arrived! Here’s Rab unwrapping his box, the bastard. Also, talking about the joy of living solely through stuff ordered through the mail.
47:15: Something about the Now show. We think it may be Walker’s podcast. It’s not! But go listen to it.
48:00: Quinns becomes an Angry Podcast Man about Battlefield 1943.
49:45: The future of control systems. In fact, the future generally.
54:00: And Kieron finally gets around to talking about Champions and how it’s a lot like City of Heroes, but not necessarily in a bad way.
59:10: Severs versus Shards. The advantages and disadvantages of both, and Kieron hypothetises a hybrid model.
1:00:01: And we wrap it up, with a little nod towards the void.

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47 Comments »

  1. fishmitten says:

    Lies. It’s not on iTunes yet!

  2. Mike says:

    No Spelunky gushing? :(

  3. Paul S. says:

    Space Hulk has sold out. I’m unemployed and penniless.

    MISERY ENGULFS ME.

  4. Kieron Gillen says:

    You can apparently get them from local shops tomorrow. At least until they sell out.

    KG

  5. James G says:

    Hmm, sadly I don’t have my headphones with me today, so it shall have to wait until I get home, lest I wish to annoy the denziens of Edinburgh with my phone’s terrible loud-speaker.

  6. Fenchurch says:

    My Space Hulk came on Tuesday, immaculately packed and in perfect condition. However, the pieces are so fiddly that even a modelling knife seems insufficient to remove them without damage. Also, I have no one to play with. :-<

  7. jsutcliffe says:

    I really don’t understand why Space Hulk is a limited edition. Why finally cave in to fan demands and then, by declaring it a limited run, pretty much snuff out all chances of extended support for the game?

    Also, Space Hulk is pretty much the perfect gateway drug to 40k. I’d have imagined GW would consider that a good thing. All I can hope is that this is a limited _initial_ run and that if it’s a success they’ll put it back into production.

    —-

    Why is Quinns’ name plural? I find it suspicious.

  8. Totalbiscuit says:

    @jsutcliffe because Games Workshop are certifiably insane and have been for decades.

  9. jsutcliffe says:

    @Totalbiscuit
    I was hoping for an better reason, not the usual “GW has no feckin idea how to manage their properties” issue. :)

  10. Kieron Gillen says:

    They don’t care about making it a viable ongoing. This is them maximising the profits from a single run. This isn’t about aiming at a maximum profits – this is about minimising risk. They’ve produced X amount of something and sold every single one at a premium price.

    KG

  11. jsutcliffe says:

    @Mr. Gillen
    Perhaps, but I have doubts about its profitability as a small-run item (admittedly, I don’t know how many units they’ve produced) — GW has a pretty advanced production process for plastic models compared to their competitors, but it’s still very expensive unless you’re creating vast amounts to offset the cost of producing the molds, which is why they still use metal for smaller-run items.

    I’m basing that on my understanding of their process a few years ago so things could have changed by then, but I’m hoping this is more of a toe-in-the-water effort rather than the be-all and end-all of Space Hulk “2.”

  12. Heliocentric says:

    Quinns’ plural because he doesn’t have enough iron.

  13. Heliocentric says:

    Gamesworkshop can make everything in plastic now, the detail is a touch lower, but its better than in once was… Its a shame rts have ruined games workshop for me. Why be trapped to one army build and a tiny pool of opponents?

    Also, not enough necromunda in gw because it wasn’t a cash cow.

  14. nabeel says:

    Woooooo!

  15. KikiJiki says:

    @Heliocentric

    Another Necromunda fan! I adored that game, and still have my original sourcebooks somewhere back home, would be fantastic if they’d continue it.

    Regarding GW being certifiably insane, they do tend to do things in an arse about tit way, but normally it’s to either generate hype or protect themselves from having dead stock lying around. I think they got a little burnt back in the mid 90s with the first ‘specialist’ games and don’t want a repeat.

  16. Vinraith says:

    Alec doesn’t love us anymore. :( Nice to hear from you thougfh, Kieron, and Quinns is a welcome addition as well.

    How linear is Arkham Asylum, anyway? Ultimately does it just come down to “sneak from room to room, solve puzzles, and beat the crap out of people?” I find my tolerance for action, FPS, and RPG games that don’t afford me a large degree of freedom is decaying rapidly.

  17. KikiJiki says:

    @Vinraith

    Having finished it on my 360 last weekend it IS very linear, but not in a way that really feels linear, if you get my meaning. You’ve always got a goal ahead of you and it evolves in a fairly natural way.

    There are a few ways you can approach each mini section, but the outcome is the same. I don’t think the game really suffers from being too linear though.

  18. Xercies says:

    Chaos of The Old World interests me a little more then Space Hulk does, from hearing of it from Downtime Town it sounds brilliant and I do think it could make into a nice multiplayer strategy game on the PC.

    I actually think using humour is better then being serious, thats why i always liked PC Gamer over other Game magazines since other ones were just two serious. I like somethimes laughing at games. Because some of the things you can do in them are terribly silly.

    Oh yeah The Now Show is a Radio 4 comedy program, very funny.

    I actually think gaming isn’t totally doomed but I do think were going to have this status quo for awhile sicne megacorporations have now got a hold on gaming and is just releasing things that appeal to the major audience. Heavy Rain though looks pretty good and if that sells well which I hope it does it might mean that companies will look for innovation again since it might not be as risky as the first think.

    Also Harley Quinn looks very hot in Arkham Asylum game. And thats all I have to say about that one.

  19. Vinraith says:

    @KikiJiki

    Thanks, that’s helpful. I’ll probably wait a bit for a price drop, but eventually pick it up.

  20. Phill Cameron says:

    @Vinraith: It’s got a good mix of both. Arkham Island is a hub, but each building (intensive care, medical facility, etc.) is mostly a set of rooms, some with alternate paths. So yeah, only really linear in the way that ‘You have to go here to stop the joker!’ way.

  21. Vinraith says:

    On another note, Quinns is on to something with the idea that games that are fun to lose are the best. It’s one reason I so enjoy grand strategy games, as (at least to me) it’s a fairly common trait that even a losing game is absolutely fascinating and endlessly entertaining.

    I always try to play at the highest difficulty setting I can manage without exploding into a ball of frustration, regardless of the genre. I actually finished Far Cry 2 on hardcore (and loved it) but it’s possible Quinns meant that “Insane” was unplayable, which I’d believe.

  22. tom says:

    Not meaning to sound like a grumpy old man (although I inevitably will), I thought there was an unnecessary amount of swearing.

  23. Serondal says:

    Quinns should know about losing too what with the lack of metal and all.

  24. Serondal says:

    Vinraith I have the same problem with games that allow to much freedom. Tried to play Hearts of Iron 3 last night after I got home and there was just to much freedom I had NO idea what to do even though I knew how the game itself worked. (It was almost EXTREMELY Laggy for a 2 game with a horrible looking map and counters. Just moving the map left to right made my computer request death.)

  25. ChaosSmurf says:

    I have that microphone!

    It’s pretty good!

    Listen! http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=d8574372df7b78c91f8e0fff488e27e0e04e75f6e8ebb871

  26. Kieron Gillen says:

    Why are you trying to share your hot lesbian porn with us?

    KG

  27. Vinraith says:

    @Serondal

    Yes, clearly it’s a matter of taste. Personally, though, I increasingly find that my interest in playing through linear titles is dropping like a stone. I’ve been trying to play Crysis, for example, and chaffing at the fact that I only have one choice of objective (even though I have a fair bit of freedom in how to approach it). I think Far Cry 2 may have spoiled me for life.

    As to HOI3, I haven’t gotten that one yet (still playing Deus Vult and EU3 with the Magna Mundi mod) but I’ll tell you that Pdox games are system hogs in large part because they’re running hundreds of countries with hundreds of separate AI’s. It’s funny you complain about the freedom in that game, HOI is my least favorite of Paradox’s franchises because the time period is so limited I don’t really feel like I can change enough. I’m simply not skilled enough to, say, save Belgium from Germany if I have to start in 1936. It bums me out.

    But back to your original point, in any Paradox game it’s important to set yourself some goals. think of it as a role playing game where you play a country, rather than as a strategy game per se. Figure out what you’d like to see happen, and work towards doing that. In the beginning, small goals with a smaller country is probably best. You can move up from there once you get a firmer grip on all the action going on under the hood.

  28. ChaosSmurf says:

    @Kieron

    Well that’ll teach me to name my rars humorously and not link directly to files (honestly though, you really don’t want to download the rar).

  29. min3mat says:

    Hey what was that GBA game that you weren’t smart enough to play? I must know and play it!!!!

  30. min3mat says:

    Hey what was the name of the uber hard GBA game? Must play!

  31. DrStrangepork says:

    Question mainly for Quinn:
    So I’m one of those people who loves the battlefield series, and I’d love being “educated” about what the actually “good” squad- and team-based online shooters are. Yeah BF: 1943 is kind of the light version with no commanders or squad leaders and that’s unfortunate, but I haven’t played any online shooter except battlefield that actually has commanders and squad leaders. Also, I can’t believe that Quinn prefers warhawk to battlefield. I’ve been killed so many times in warhawk extremely cheaply, and imo that game doesn’t make it fun to be on the receiving end. Battlefield does have a learning curve where you learn when to keep your head down, but after that I think it’s great. Anyhow, I’d love to hear more of Quinn’s perspective and what he thinks are the great team-based online shooters (hopefully that include vehicles, a command structure, and good sized outdoor maps). Thanks!

  32. The_B says:

    min3mat – They said it was Brain Training, didn’t they?

  33. Kieron Gillen says:

    (Quinns is probably in travel right now, so isn’t answering. Brain Training was my one, but Quinns had something else. I didn’t know it either)

    KG

  34. Kirrus says:

    Can you please buy one of these:
    Marantz PMD 660

    And either, a Zone Mic, or

    One of these:
    FOLIO Notepad: “Personal”

    Four mic stands, and four Seinheiser e835 mics.

    I used to work for a sound engineering company ;)

  35. Quinns says:

    Not travelling anymore! Am in Ireland. Turns out Ireland is grey and wet as a pebble in a puddle. I think I like it.

    Vinraith: Yeah, it was the hardest difficulty setting of Far Cry 2 I was talking about. It’s not called Insane, it’s like, Infamous or Fearsome or something.

    As for Arkham Asylum, it’s fairly linear in that there’s only one path through it, but there’s plenty of room to breathe. The Riddler challenges that flood the game mean you can always hang around in a room or a building or a section of the island, pottering around and finding secrets. And some of the large-scale fights in the games can be snuck past if you’re not in the mood. But I guess it’s not quite as freeform and Metroid like (or RPG-like) as it could have been.

    DrStrangePork: The command structure’s not at all my issue with Battlefield. My problem is that I feel all the very powerful instant-hitscan weaponry is not compatible with a large-scale online game that’s both chaotic and has an emphasis on rapid movement in large, outdoor areas. The result is that you get shot and killed a lot without expecting it, which I don’t find fun and I’m sure I have that in common with most gamers.

    To games I enjoy that go someway to solving this problem are Red Orchestra and Warhawk. Red Orchestra obviously has guns that are even more vicious than Battlefield, but that’s okay because the entire game is about staying the fuck out of sight and the levels are designed that way. Decisions in Red Orchestra revolve around when it’s okay to risk leaving cover and when to retreat, and the guns are powerful enough that you can suppress people or scare them off. When you get shot, it’s because you weren’t being cautious, patient or clever enough, or because your team let you down. Battlefield’s design does not allow a team to move slowly or carefully, and so you get shot and that’s just tough shit.

    Warhawk I talk about right here:

    http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2009/07/column_battle_klaxon_warhawk.php

    For the record, I’ve never played Battlefield to a clan level or anything. For all I know the pro servers are full of people skulking around in bushes, but I doubt it.

    ALSO: I liked Battlefield when it first came out! It was rad as Hell! My problem with 1943 is that it’s the same game! It’s lazy! Give me something new! FEED ME!

  36. DrStrangepork says:

    Thanks for the reply Quinns. I’ll go back and give Warhawk another shot.

  37. Quinns says:

    Oop, didn’t see Min3mat’s question.

    The ridiculously hard GBA puzzle game I was talking about was Guru Logi Champ. Wikipedia page here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guru_Logi_Champ

    And OHHH! Look who brings the gifts! There appears to be a 10 level PC demo right here:

    http://www.ntsc-uk.com/reviews/gba/GuruLogicChamp/champ.zip

    Haven’t tried the demo myself. Link works though! Also it isn’t that I’M not smart enough to play it. I eat puzzles for breakfast, which may explain my diagnosed malnutrition. The game just gets so hard and is so long that almost everyone is going to hit a ceiling with it eventually where they can’t progress any further.

  38. Kirrus says:

    iTunes always seems to take 12-14 hours to work out that any of the podcasts I’ve listened to have updated.
    [Insert obligatory grumble about proprietary tech here]

    Kieron, if i have money spare once I’ve bought another car, I will buy you one. And a mixing desk. And four mics. And a stand :)

    Maybe we should start a “donate decent audio tech for RPS podcast” donation rally ;)
    Or, a bring and buy sale? They’re always popular for raising money… :P

  39. Alex says:

    Hey Quinns, did you get a chance to try out the Bixi system downtown while you were here?

  40. Kieron Gillen says:

    Kirrus: We’d need two sets due to the RPS London/Bath split too. Boo!

    KG

  41. Jim Rossignol says:

    John’s recording system is okay. I think the sound quality on the John/Jim podcasts has been perfectly listenable of late.

  42. Muzman says:

    If you’re going to get fancy, do it with retro cool.
    http://www.bluemic.com/snowball/
    (or any of the others they’ve got)

    Anyway, there’s plenty worse podcasts sound quality wise than this particular one. It’s also kinda par for the course when doing conference calls unfortunately. Probably better they use gear that doesn’t need a couple of roadies to set up and operate too. (I think the Zoom H5 is highly thought of for budget self contained digi recording, incidentally)

    I’m curious about Battlefield 1943. I get that it’s the same old same old, and that’s a negative in itself. I’m curious how multiplayer games are supposed to have moved on though. What’s dated about BF1942 gameplay? And how could anything trying to be so large scale be all that different and still create the same feel?
    (Corollary: What are all the games I’ve missed that do a better job? Bf1942 was pretty much the last online game I played to any great extent)

  43. Kirrus says:

    Setting up recording kit isn’t that hard.. can easily provide lessons.. but needing two sets would be annoying :(

    Could always get cheaper solid-state recorder of course, but the 660 is one of the best around. (Which is why the BBC World Service bought every single one they could get their hands on when they first came out over here. Wiped out the entire country’s stock they did!)

  44. Muzman says:

    Hmm, I guess Quinns does address my questions up above, more or less. I is apparently hard of reading.
    I suppose the thing is I don’t mind getting shot randomly now and then (does kinda depend on how often it happens though). I haven’t played Red Orchestra.
    Mostly I played the Forgotten Hope mod and things of that ilk. They had a pretty good firepower balance, by my estimation. Shooting at people was an effective deterrent.

  45. Fat Zombie says:

    Bah! I disagree with Quinns. I don’t mind random, quick death; I prefer it over the random, slow death that I get in Warhawk (unless I’m in a jet, where it’s MISSILELOCKBEEEPDEATH in about .5 of a second).

    In games like battlefield or RO, there’s less Humiliation Time; the time between the point where you realise you’re going to die and the point where, yes, you actually do die. You’re walking, then there’s a dude and- BLAM. You’re dead, respawn.

    In Warhawk (which I purchased off your recommendation Quinns, forshame), the interval is always much longer. I’m not too skilled, so I usually panic when I’m under attack. With insta-kill rifles there’s a chance I can lay the crosshairs over an assailant and blow their brains out before they can mine; with Warhawk, I’m being shot at and panicking and trying to hit a rapidly moving gnat with a gun that fires styrofoam pellets. With a joypad.

    BAH

  46. Bobsy says:

    Yes, I really wasn’t anticipating such detailed discussion of wonderful thighs. Expect every tweeted question from me to pertain to legs in some way from now on.