The RPS Electronic Wireless Show 39

Alec! Kieron! An oddly alien-robot Quinns! We gathered on the Internet last week. Mr Hockel had a prod at it to improve its quality over the weekend. AND NOW WE PRESENT THE RESULTS! You can download it directly from here, subscribe to it by RSS with this, or get it on iTunes from here. Contents include! DRM, Bioshock 2 and other stuff! And a full list of everything follows. Hurrah!

00:00: Harmony? Kind of. An intro? Definitely.
00:40: An awkward cut and bullying meaness.
01:10: Quinns whines about not having a Star Craft 2 Beta. Alec and I talk about the Knife Fight in the quick impressions post.
01:45: A cheery discussion about Ubisoft’s wonderful DRM system. Kieron fails to remember something properly about DRM. Is he right? Is he wrong? Who can tell. People with google and/or memories, that’s who. Talking MMOs are hidden DRM, the problem with Internet angriness, the total contempt going on and… well, what if it works?
12:45: What about the new Command & Conquer stuff?
14:20: Has Bioshock 2 multiplayer got shit connectivity or something? It’s pretty good if you get it working though.
17:20: The shame of the Bioshock 2 ideas that died. Sniff. But… it’s better, isn’t it? The stuff that works. The stuff that doesn’t.
21:45: Okay. Bioshock 3. How would you do it? Kieron sez The Chaos Engine meets The Fly, basically.
26:30: Why doesn’t Quinns write more often for RPS?
26:45: What would we like to see added in the Steam update? What do we think of the Steam update. Nitpicking eventually follows. Also, egomania.
29:00: Quinns gets us to do some searching on Steam to check the prices, to see how they differ between Ireland and the UK. Fascinating listening, I’m sure. But the actual result are horrifying.
30:10: Call or Pripyiat versus Metro 2033. Kieron reveals he doesn’t read our own site. What a wanker! Alec talks about the differences, and insults Aliens Versus Predator a bit. Which segues into a whole discussion about the history of regenerating health. Wow! This whole section is terribly ill-thought out.
32:40: Okay. We try to talk about Starcraft 2. And… no fighting. Yet. I’ll say this – it’s funny to listen us talk about SC2 a week ago. Ah, we were so young and naive then.
37:25: Kieron makes a very unfortunate metaphor which leads to Quinns making a very unfortunate metaphor which leads to… Supreme Commander 2 vs Starcraft 2.
39:40: Has any game designed as an eSports game ever worked? Kieron insults Painkiller.
40:50: Is Monaco any good? More importantly, is Jim any good?
42:00: Eve and the Eve-console-FPS-thing. The potential of cross-game influencing.
43:30: Quinns has another little cry about not having a Starcraft 2 beta key before going back to Monaco. And then exciting homo-eroticism.
45:20: Civilization 5. Is it going to be any good? Probably. We wonder what’s the point and go through some alternative ideas for Civ spin-offs.
50:50: Quinns on Allods Online and a lack of understanding of the history of Western Europe.
54:30: We start talking about Mass Effect 2… and realise we don’t have time to get into it.
54:45: And Kieron’s been playing Freespace 2. Which is wonderful and he talks about it, even though he doesn’t have much time.
58:20: We end as we started – with sarcasm and bullying. Hurrah!

You can get it from here. We said that earlier though. Pay attention!


  1. Colthor says:

    Excellent, I’ve been waiting for this. Thanks!

    Are the rumours that John has dumped Jim and the Electronic Wireless Show in favour of a sordid affair with Nick Mailer and the Rum Doings podcast true?

  2. jsutcliffe says:

    9:28 KG: Guys, do you want to have a foursome?
    9:30 AM: … sorry
    9:31 KG: Guys, do you want to have a thought experiment?
    9:34 AM: I thought you’d never ask

    Which question was Alec responding to? Also, who is the mystery fourth man or lady?

  3. Skusey says:

    Thanks guys, I’ll listen to this later.

  4. M says:

    Aww, man! It’s been too long.

  5. Sweedums says:

    just at the discussion at 30 mins in, a game that has regenerating health in blocks was far cry 2…. im not sure what others did though

    • Dominic White says:

      And before FC2, Chronicles of Riddick used it. It’s a great system, really – let the player regenerate from ‘scratches’, but if you get wounded, you have to find somewhere safe to tend to your injuries. It really works well in the action-movie style of things. After all, John Mclane would never get worn down by being grazed by bullets, would he? A few seconds to catch his breath and he’s shooting dudes at full speed.

      The new Aliens vs Predator uses that system, too.

    • Sporknight says:

      Resistance: Fall of Man for the PS3 had that mechanic as well. I’m sure it wasn’t the first, but it’s what came to mind.

    • LewieP says:

      Riddick was my thought too.

  6. Wednesday says:

    Medal of Honour: Airborne also uses it.

  7. jon_hill987 says:

    “14:20: Has Bioshock 2 multiplayer got shit connectivity or something? It’s pretty good if you get it working though.”

    Yes, correct me if I am wrong but it is called “player hosting” and after the shite that is AVP multiplayer (though I understand they have released servers for that now, I must have another go) I don’t want to play another multiplayer game with that system ever again.

  8. CrowPath says:

    Regenerating health blocks: Riddick

  9. jsutcliffe says:

    I really disliked Bioshock 2 — it’s interesting to hear you guys, whose opinions I respect, speaking so positively about it.


    One thing I liked about Bioshock was that every area had a distinct look and personality, and it felt to me that by making every area in Bioshock 2 broken down and overgrown that the locations became very samey. I was also very disappointed with the multiple endings setup. It seems to me that it’s entirely reasonable to save the nice old lady, kill the mean kidnapper, and put the dapper gent out of his misery, but [Ryan voice]NO![/Ryan voice] Doing those things makes you a bad, bad person and a terrible role model.

    Also, the game didn’t have any respect for player intelligence. Oh look, a remote hack dart. There must be something to hack around her— oh no, it’s behind unbreakable glas– oh wait, there’s a broken sectio– [RADIO]Hey Sport, why don’t you go ahead and hack that door.[/RADIO]

    I know, Sinclair. I KNOW.

    On the plus side, the section where you’re seeing Rapture through the eyes of a Sister was very well done.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      jsutcliffe : That’s what the choices I did, and I ended up at one of the good endings. At least I presumed it was a good ending. It felt like a good ending to me.

      EDIT: I also saved close to every sister in the game, which probably effects something. I admit, I haven’t looked at the maths.


    • jsutcliffe says:

      Well, I will add inconsistency and unfairness to my list of dislikes then. :)

      It’s entirely possibly that I did one of the three things differently from how I intended to (and how I remember doing them) though, as I mostly played it half-cut. Maybe killing one of the Little Sisters (to see if it was different from the original game) also influenced the ending I got. There was a sequence where it was implied that Eleanor was influenced by my Sister-killing which I didn’t like, as I dutifully saved everyone else.

      Which leads me to another thing I disliked — why was I not offered some kind of choice about whether Eleanor should kill all of the Little Sisters in the wards, when up to that point Bioshock and Bioshock 2 had made such a big deal of the choice you make when saving or harvesting a Sister?

      Mostly, I am bitter that I spent my money and time on this when I could have been buying Call of Pripyat instead.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      “Maybe killing one of the Little Sisters (to see if it was different from the original game) also influenced the ending I got.”

      This. Murderling a girl in front of your daughter has got to be one of the things to fuck her right up.


    • jsutcliffe says:

      Punished for intellectual curiosity! How very meta.

      (and I didn’t do it in front of her — it was pretty early in the game, I think it was the second one I encountered.)

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Oh, you weren’t punished, man. You were judged. There is a difference.


    • Nick says:

      I don’t think the ‘But I only killed ONE little girl’ argument stands up well ¬_¬

  10. Dain says:

    There’s a rather fine Alpha Centauri mod for Civ IV

    link to

  11. Sobric says:

    Good laff good laff. Although Quinns sounded like he was in a Big Daddy suit when talking about Bioshock 2.

  12. jsutcliffe says:

    The discussion of the choice of mutant SWAT team or regular SWAT team reminds me of a game idea I’ve had kicking around (disclaimer, this is only tangentially related to the podcast discussion):

    I was imagining it as a Diablo-esque dungeon crawler (I was tempted to try making it with TorchEd, til I discovered how long it’d take me to make new tilesets), where as you progress on your journey to rid the world of a stereotypical evil lord you might encounter funky demonic gear that’s super-powerful. If you give in to temptation and use that gear through the game, when you finally vanquish the evil lord you haven’t rid the world of evil — you have become the next evil lord. It’s clearly a cycle that continues, and the implication is that in a while another hero will try to take you out he will most likely end up inheriting your evil throne. The only way to break the cycle and get the “good” ending would be to play the game using only the weaker non-demonic gear.

    • Sporknight says:

      Dawn of War 2 has an extremely similar feature. Your men have a purity/corruption scale, and certain actions/missions/wargears can change that scale one way or another. I can’t say whether it goes along with the whole ‘you become the Big Bad’ deal or not, seeing as it’s not out yet, but it should change other aspects like missions and dialogue.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Space Siege did the same thing, didn’t it? Maybe? From what I’ve heard?

      …did anyone play Space Siege?

    • Vinraith says:


      Yeah, that mechanic was present in Space Siege, although it was only really a difference in ending cinematic.

      Space Siege was thoroughly mediocre, but I don’t know how it manages to engender to much hate. It’s a perfectly run-of-the-mill action RPG with a couple of interesting ideas and a dodge button that everyone hates for some reason.

  13. Dain says:

    Oh yes, fully agree about Freespace 1/2 being scary.. brilliantly tense atmosphere at almost all times. Amazing music and sound effects contributed a lot to that I think! Can still hear the shivans engine sounds in my head.

  14. LewieP says:


    About international steam prices:

    Add the suffix “?cc=XX” to any steam page, where XX = country code to see the price for that country.

    ie “UK” for the UK, “IE” for Ireland, “US” for USA and so on.

    Quite useful.

  15. Vitalis says:

    In reference to ‘a game where one guy is playing an RTS and the other guys are first-person footsoldiers’

    I was disappointed you guys forgot about Natural Selection =[

  16. terry says:

    I’ve been waiting for this pain!

  17. Crane says:

    @jsutcliffe “Punished for intellectual curiosity! How very meta.”

    I had a discussion about this with a friend of mine: his complaint was that he only killed one little sister to see how it worked in this game, and he didn’t think that should lock him into the “evil” ending.

    My question is this: how many children do you have to murder before you’re evil? Isn’t one enough?

    • jsutcliffe says:


      How many children do you have to rescue before you’re considered good? If you rescue more children than you kill, shouldn’t that tip the balance?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      jsutcliffe: Don’t get a job as a social worker. IT WOULD BE DISASTROUS.


    • jsutcliffe says:


      1) Out of twelve Sisters in Rapture I rescued eleven and one just kind of happened to die for some reason. That is a very good success rate.

      2) I would be the Dexter of child protection.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      jsutcliffe: Imagine how bad the next Social Worker scandal could be. Daily mail headline: THEY LET THE BABY DIE… AND THEN THEY CRACKED THEM OPEN AND ATE THEM.


  18. mcnostril says:

    So are we going to get a wot I think on the new avp or not?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      mcnostril: Alec’s waiting until the bug which makes the game lag every couple of minutes for a few seconds before reviewing it.


  19. Sagan says:

    Small fact check because I have been playing Civ IV again recently: In Civ IV you already have a round world. When you zoom out a certain distance, the map changes from a flat map to a globe that you can spin. And you can try playing without religion. What happens is, that your people are a little less happy, but your technology develops faster. But yeah, the game doesn’t really react to it if you completely ignore religion. You just can’t build the happiness and culture-boosting religion buildings.

    • jsutcliffe says:


      The world is actually cylindrical — they just wrap it onto a sphere shape when you zoom out far enough. It’s also not very well done, because certain map sizes don’t map onto the sphere very well and you need to rotate the world noticeably more (or less, depending on map size) than 360 degrees to get around to your starting point again.

      I suspect Civ V will follow the same pattern — unless I’m wrong, the only sphere-like shape you can make with regular hexagons is a dodecahedron, which would make for a very short game.

      On religion, I would like the Civ developers to have some balls and make each religion have unique properties (perhaps even some negative properties). I think we’re all grown up enough to understand that religions are different.

  20. LewieP says:

    Yeah, Civ4, and lots of games have worlds that are shaped like a donut.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      If Civ IV was toroidal (‘donut-shaped’), then the poles would wrap around onto each-other. Instead, it is (as the child-murdering jsutcliffe notes) cylindrical, with the left and right sides connecting, but not the top or bottom.

      Easy to get confused!

    • jsutcliffe says:


      Hey! It was science, not murder.

    • LewieP says:

      You’re right, I was thinking of Breath of Fire 2, oddly.

  21. Blackberries says:

    Hurrah for more FreeSpace 2! I’m looking forward to your thoughts. I love that game so much.

    @Quinns, should you be reading this: If you do get round to playing it, then I highly recommend checking out the complete port of the first game that was made as part of the Source Code Project project. It’s an almost seamless port, and playing it prior to the main FS2 campaign should give you more investment in that.

  22. Nick Mailer says:

    There’s nothing sordid about my and John’s love. It’s Christly.

  23. FP says:

    I’ve not played the new AvP yet, but Rogue Trooper has a combo regeneration/medkit system where your health only regenerates up to a certain point and then you need to use a medkit to heal the rest.

  24. Dinger says:

    Alright, here’s the lesson you weren’t looking for:

    J.R.R. Tolkien was a professor of medieval English literature. Medievalists generally come in two sorts: the detective-type and the fantasy-type (aka Romanticist). Tolkien was the latter, and inspired the “continuation of Romanticism by other means” that is the whole fantasy literature/videogame movement. So that WoW has a medieval vibe is pure (and relatively unimaginative) convention. Allod (a word which, in Medieval Western Europe, applied to the rare piece of commoner-held land not subject to manorial services) is far more original in mythologizing the Soviet Union.

    Disclaimer: yeah, I have a cupola advanced degrees in Medieval European History and work in the field. I also am the voice of the hick that is much detested by the RPS Londinenses.

    • Wulf says:

      That was insightful, thank you! Furthermore, I agree in regards to Allods and I think there’s a great deal more in the way of mythology out there which hasn’t begun to be examined by games. I’d love to see the Celtic Druids or the Norse (in an accurate way, not in an I SAY THEE NAY sort of way) handled by a game.

      Also: RPS has an anti-hick agenda, now? I didn’t get that memo!

    • Umpaidh says:

      From what I remember, Dark Age of Camelot did explore Celt and Norse mythology quite well.
      Though I would love to see more games use it.

    • Wulf says:

      Ooh. Oh, hey, that’s been a while. Yeah, it’s just a shame that it’s in the minuscule minority, there really is a lot of potential there. There’s also American and Aboriginal cultures too which really haven’t been explored all that well, it seems everyone is far too hooked on Ye Olde Classic Medieval Tales, with Knights and Castles.

      This would be a great avenue for an indie developer to explore too, if anyone’s listening! Do a bit of research into it, there’s some really inspiring stuff to be found.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Prey explored Native American mythology…? Okay, not really.

    • Wulf says:

      @PleasingFungus (Funny nick to type, that.)

      Mmhm, it’s only sort of been poked at, but no one’s actually really dug in there, and there’s not just Native American tribal culture either, there’s also Mesoamerican and that gets pretty interesting. There are intrigues there which could be probed and used in mindbending plots, I keep hoping to one day see Náhua used in a game, for all the various reasons that one might expect after researching that name (and I know you will!).

    • Taillefer says:

      I have fond memories of the Heimdall games. I think it had one of the language options as Norse.
      Hmm. *looks for remakes*

  25. And Triage says:

    lmao @ “what if cavemen didn’t invent blowjobs?”

    you guys are mental. in a good way.

    • Wulf says:

      I haven’t listened to the show yet, but it took me about two seconds to link that to the aforementioned ‘exciting homo-eroticism’ mentioned in the article.

      I worry about me.

  26. Maestro says:

    Has anyone mentioned how your Bio-shock 3 ‘strike squad’ idea is totally a ‘Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now’ redux? I think it’s great – Irrational revealed on the Insider blog that the original plot of System Shock 2 was an ‘Apocalypse Now’ redux to begin with, so it would totally fit in with the feel of the series.

    Also – wouldn’t this be the perfect vehicle for 4 player co-op? Each of you builds your own twisted splicer and can fight over saving or harvesting little sisters. The potential for human drama here is potent.

  27. Uhm says:

    So, hey, Ubisoft, how’s that DRM going?
    Ubisoft’s New DRM Cracked in Under 24-Hours

    • jarvoll says:

      Lol. Well that kills the “what if it works?” thought experiment. Kills it dead.

    • Taillefer says:

      Although it was inevitable. In a way, I’m kind of sad it was so soon.

  28. Muzman says:

    Hooray for podcast.

    On DRM (Yeah I know. Whatever I say is probably in the mega threads already, but whatyagonna do).
    I would imagine that large third party equipment deals work in games pretty much the same way they do in every other industry: reps from the company outfitting hydraulic rams, diesel generators or DRM solutions come in and pitch away, taking the CEOs to dinner, becoming drinking buddies and all the better if they went to the same university etc etc. So great arguments one way or the other on the effectiveness of this stuff is somehere down the list on why these things get bought into.

    Second of all, I’m sympathetic to John’s argument about the effectiveness of these things and their true impact on sales being at best very hard to determine. But when they say it’s harming development they’re probably not far wrong, since all anyone needs to do is point at the downloads of torrents or whatever to scare off investors/banks etc. So security software peddlers are in a uniquely powerful position when it comes to getting people to sign up for their ever more bizarre and intrusive methods. Failure just makes their pitch stronger, and it’s not even their core method of getting people on board.

  29. TomHD says:

    on the subject of an rts with people playing as the units, theres a game I used to play called allegiance online. It was originally microsoft, but now run as abandonware by a community. I never managed to fully get into it due to a dodgy internet connection at the time, and I can’t currently get into it now due to some firewall issues. But overall seemed like a well built and run game.

  30. Jayt says:

    Probably sound like a dick, but when you guys were talking about RTS-FPS hybrids with a commander, well this is exactly what Natural Selection (and number 2 coming out) have that.

  31. Charley says:

    Wasn’t regenerating in sections from Beyond Good & Evil?