The RPS Electronic Wireless Show Episode 19

It's a picture at the top of a post about a podcast.

Now we seem to have a website again thanks to Earth’s greatest hero, Johnathan at Positive Internet – everyone switch your hosting over to them now – we can post a podcast! Jim and John gathered, and words were exchanged. We recorded them. Now you listen to them. It’s so simple it just might work.

Here’s what we talked about, in literally no order, which makes Kieron furious! We talked about hating stuff that’s free, John being a functional Christian, RPS’s plans for invading E3, game sequels we want to see, the potential for Thief 4 and Deus Ex 3, and whether it’s okay to dislike Civilisation IV. We also talk about games! Like Damnation, Riddick, Thief, Thief Deadly Shadows, and Ultima Underworld II. It’s so much, and it’s so delightful!

So get the mp3 directly from here, visit its own site here, subscribe to it by RSS with this, or get it on iTunes from here.

No links this week, as we were far too vivid. And we were loud, too! Peaks! Audible sound. And I used Levelator so hopefully Kieron will forgive me a bit.


  1. Feet says:

    I haven’t listened yet but just FYI, it’s not okay to dislike Civ 4.

  2. Serondal says:

    @Feet Agreed, if you dislike Civ 4 you’re a commie. Now go kiss Sid Meyer’s shining sweat covered forehead and play Getteysburg for 10 hours in order to repent of your great sin! Oh and go buy something from someone for a price set by supply and demand instead of my some fat government offical.

  3. Heliocentric says:

    I prefer pirates! and railroad! I can’t wait for sm’s bear!

  4. Dain says:

    @ Modern Day Thief: I really don’t know.. a large part of the charm for me was the universe.. I know the story is done.. but it’s a universe I’d like to have a chance to revisit.

  5. Katsumoto says:

    “… hadn’t been called Deus Ex 2 it would have been heralded as the astonishingly great game that it obviously was” Yes, yes, yes! I feel I should get angry at my mates who hate Invisible War, whilst I love it, but then I get really iffy with Fallout 3, despite being semi-conscious that i’d be a lot more easy going on it if I wasn’t so in love with Fallout 1 & 2. Such is life.

  6. Serondal says:

    Maybe something can be learned from all this Maybe buying up famous old IPs is over rated and devs should make more new games that can stand on their own instead of trying to stand up to these giant shadows of old games that weren’t nearly as good as people make them out to be?

  7. Larington says:

    Funnily enough I’ve been replaying Thief Deadly Shadows as well, just had a blue screen & restart error that happened when I tried to enter the zombie ship.

    As for Thiefourf? Holding judgement until I know the background of the lead designer and the intentions of the design team.

  8. Lh'owon says:

    Is it okay to have spent a long time really really liking Civilization IV but having become tired with how tedious actual warfare gets with constant micromanagement of building units, then moving said units into a stack, then moving that stack for several turns across you lands, then moving that stack into a ship, then moving that ship across the water, then realising you have a whole bunch more units all across your empire and you have to do the same thing all over again and the game does nothing to streamline this? No? Sorry.

  9. Thants says:

    Alpha Centauri is still the best one. Now Alpha Centauri 2, that would be exciting. Can you have hovertanks in Civ 4? I think not.

  10. Adventurous Putty says:

    oh my GOD! We JUST had a test on finding the pH and pOH of various strong/weak acids and bases!

  11. Clockwork Harlequin says:

    Thants: There are a couple of Alpha Centauri mods for CivIV. I haven’t checked them out in months, and last I tried to play them they were very much unfinished. But you might be interested (I think the better on is ‘Planetfall’).

  12. Thants says:

    Clockwork Harlequin: Interesting, I’ll have to check those out.

  13. Muzman says:

    The trouble with a modern day Thief ish thing is the suspension of the ol’ disbelief.
    If you’re going to be sneaking around places, people have to be mostly blind at distance, deaf and have terrible peripheral vision for it to work. Unless that is you’re the guy sneaking around the torchlit, magic powered steampunk world who has been trained by the super secret sneaky people to exploit magic/some sort of mental blind spot and make yourself effectively invisible in shadows (D&D style). That I buy into. In other settings its a lot less convincing.
    Obviously not everyone’s going to have that problem, but yes I did think Splinter Cell was a load of bollox because of this (but not only because of this).

  14. Benny says:

    If they’d just called DX2 “Invisible War” then it’d be heralded as a unimaginative copy of DX by the same people who diddn’t like it being a sequel. Similar to project snowblind, which i believe started as a deus ex spin off of sorts.

    On a side note, the HDTP mod will fix a bit of the awfully bad character models and stuff (Phasmatis’ new models do look extremely shiny lol) although all the old Unreal1 engine limits are still there, clunky death animations included.

  15. Tonic says:

    You missed a chance to touch on the recent successful remakes like Rearmed or Mega Man 9 (not pc games?)
    I wouldn’t even mind it if a deus ex remake wasn’t graphically astounding, just updated with non-blocky textures, widescreen, non-ice-skatey running animations and etc. It would certainly keep development times down. Throw it on steam for fifteen bux and call it a day.

  16. Little Green Man says:

    I dislike Civ4, but then I absolutely LOVE Civ3 and would put it as either my first or second favourite game ever, just above Civ2. Oh the memories, and the times yet to come. I got really annoyed at the way Civ4 worked, and just couldn’t see the worth of it when I still have Civ3, 2, and a boxed copy of 1 (I can’t play it, but it looks nice on my shelf).

  17. Alex says:

    I was going to mention The Lost Vikings as a game that needed a sequel, but it seems they released one without my ever hearing about it.

    From around the same time-frame, I’d like to see another Star Trek adventure game from the folks who made 25th Anniversary and Judgment Rites.

  18. Gap Gen says:

    Yes, Alpha Centauri is King. Although I admit I haven’t touched CIV* yet.

    *Civ 4 = CIV, obv.

  19. TheLordHimself says:

    Little Green Man:

    I am the same. I just cannot get into Civ4. I have tried and tried but something keeps forcing me away. Civ3 though, I can play that for hours.

  20. Vagueism says:

    Speaking of Alpha Centauri (and Civ), the Vintage Game Club starts their playthrough of the game today. link to

    VGC is a nice way to revisit and take a closer look at older games.

  21. The_B says:

    Heh, I was the opposite to LGM and Lord, I couldn’t get into Civ 3, but I really like Civ 4.

  22. aoanla says:

    Contrary to Jim and John’s experience, the only thing I remember about Thief is being scared by it. Possibly, however, that’s because I never managed to get past the second level due to that fear.

    (And, on the subject of hating stuff that’s free, I’m becoming increasingly annoyed with “continued development” in games, as opposed to bugfixing. The issue with TF2 (and Steam autoupdating games in general) is that you’re nearly forced to update your copy of TF2, not just to fix bugs, but to change the game experience itself. Whilst this may be an improvement, it may also not be, and it certainly makes it into a significantly different game than the one you bought – and you no longer own the game you bought, because it’s been replaced with the one you’ve been “updated” to. That said, I am intrigued by this “servers without unlocks” that people keep speaking of – I’d stopped playing TF2 long enough ago that I am unaware of how common they are?)

    Oh, and definitely a vote for a Hired Guns game. Even though I was awful at it, it was brilliant.

    Oh, and all Civ games bore me, because I’m fundamentally turtley, so I never engage in diplomacy or anything. I guess that’s really me boring myself, though, eh?

  23. Kadayi says:

    There definitely does need to be some form of company that basically remakes classic old games such as Deus Ex but with better graphics etc, etc. One can’t help but ponder wistfully the Alternative universe the undoubtedly exists where such a company exists and wishing the ability to step though (Ala TV show Fringe) to purchase a few choice titles ;)

    Also I’m not sure what scares me more…the undead in Thief, or the thought if I actually click play on that CiV IV Icon on my desktop I might lose the next 5 years of my life…

  24. DigitalSignalX says:

    950 KB/s from your new host, sweet. – thank them for us!

  25. Theoban says:

    In Ultima Underworld, the numbers 1 and 3 allow you to look up and down. 2 recentres your view.

  26. Henrik J says:

    Is it wrong of me that i only listen to the RPS podcast when Jim and John are doing it?

  27. Cian says:

    I play Civ in the same style as John’s father. Building an empire is so much more satisfying than the routine of running one. Disliking Civ is clearly inappropriate and offensive to PC gamers.

  28. Rabbitsoup says:

    On the whole angry free update thing I am happy about getting new stuff for free, but I did buy with an expectation of that there would be more stuff released. I am only angry about the fps drops they keep managing to pop in the game.

    also is it worth playing an old thief?

  29. graham says:

    Great cast chaps.
    I got a ‘U’ for Philosophy in Religion and an N for sociology at A-Level. 13 years later I manage a community mental health team. A-levels are overrated the emphasis should be on what you do in the rest of your life.
    Also I burn out of Civ games really quickly. Often I will find a cheat to get money then the game always loses its appeal. You would have thought I would have learned not to cheat at Civ but with A-Level grades like mine what to do expect.
    Bring on E3 sounds like some PC gaming surprises. My bets are on Spore:-the beginning (a prequel) and a duke Nukem RTS.

  30. Vinraith says:

    Thanks for doing these, guys, you’re one of the few genuinely entertaining (and occasionally informative) podcasts around. Keep it up!

    Oh and yes, your American listener(s?) do love you for the baseball chat, if for no other reason than that it was so charmingly unexpected.

  31. graham says:

    Baseball? isnt that like that game girls and children play, also called Rounders?
    I think RPS should talk about manly sports like badger baiting, white collar boxing and thumb wars.

  32. Gap Gen says:

    As for copying code into modern engines, I really should take a look at some code that has been released for older games. I’ve been generally taught that OO and abstraction and so on are good practices, but given that games are often rewritten from scratch, I’d guess that some are a bit lazier as they don’t need to be future-proofed. If the code was done with the best possible practice, then ripping out the interface and installing a new engine should be relatively easy, without needing to really touch the core code.

  33. jalf says:

    @Gap Gen:
    Games are rarely written from scratch. Pretty much any AAA game is based on last year’s game’s code. Even when a company decides to write a “new engine”, they still port over tons of the old code. Of course, the code is still written *as if* it would never be needed again. But that doesn’t stop it from being reused. ;)

    As for future-proofing, how would that work? What does “the” interface for an engine look like? Every game engine is different, has different capabilities and responsibilities, and requires different things from the user code. You can’t just abstract away 80% of your game and pretend that it can be substituted for 80% of any other game.
    The entire point in switching to another engine is that it is different. There would be nothing gained in switching to one that did exactly the same things in the same ways.

    (Apart from that, there’s nothing like a good dose of OO to really tie *all* of your code into a big knot where *nothing* can be ripped out and replaced in less than 500 lines of code. But that’s a rant for another day, and another site)

  34. Gap Gen says:

    Hmm, interesting. I was under the impression that the point of (well-written) OO was to enable code to be more maintainable, so that you could, say, replace one interface with another and just change a thin intermediary layer of the code. I guess I’ve only heard the pro side, really (aside from the fact that OO is much harder to do well than straight-up functional programming). That, and polymorphism in C++ is a bit shabby, what with inheritance and all.

    Also, my only real experience of big projects are:
    1) An organically-growing piece of commercial code that has probably abandoned the purist interpretation of OO through being changed by different people (including me) and
    2) Functional Fortran written by academics who like what they know and don’t really care for learning new programming philosophies (which is an understandable position, as learning new techniques on-the-fly could undermine a project or make it take longer)