Devolver Digital E3

Great stage show, amazing parody (I guess? It’s impossible to parody the game industry, worse than televangelists).

Sadly, their games are fucking garbage, and what they showed was even worse than usual. Devolver haven’t published anything good since original Hotline Miami and Hatoful Boyfriend; both from outside indie developers. I don’t know how these people get through the day, being meaningless parasites.

Bethesda #BE3

Rage 2 has the guns & blood of the idiotic rail-shooters I normally condemn, but it’s open-world and goofy. I openly laughed at the skeet-shooting carnival cannon. The rock show singing “Better get ready to kill better get ready to die” is a perfect tone setter for this. It looks like how Doom 1 played, fun and stupid. The environments look great, very cartoony and colorful. Down side, you apparently have to play some doofus “Ranger Walker” and endure bad dialogue on some mystical quest. I prefer games where you make your own character and do whatever you want. So… pass, but maybe if it’s discounted.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends card game is… not great. I love TES, I like card games and board games, but it’s very slow-paced, trick-card-based, and the story mode is often excruciatingly dull and dumb. Maybe now that it has a new studio Sparkypants, it’ll move into my casual-gaming slot. Bethesda didn’t talk about this change at all.

The Elder Scrolls Online, “MMO of the year” for the last 3 years, is my home world. Earth I tolerate, but Tamriel is beautiful and terrifying. Summerset is gorgeous and I’m just wandering around to solve problems, or kill world bosses, nowhere near done with main quest, and really far from finishing my jewelry crafting skill or Psiijic Order. I loved Morrowind and Clockwork City last year. The announcements for this year of a Werewolf-based dungeon DLC, and then Murkmire, eh. I don’t do the group dungeons much, and Shadowfen’s the worst zone in the game. More silly lizards in mud are not really what I wanted, but it’s free for me on ESO+.

I feel sorry for the shambling corpse of iD software, ever since Carmack fucked off to build rockets, Romero had a rough time for a while but he’s made a cool original Doom level, and Gunman Taco Truck with his kid, and has a new studio.

Doom Eternal? Couple bros in suits. “You want even more badass demons? We got twice as many!” Fucking punch it into a spreadsheet why don’t you? Goddamn how Doom has fallen, into a rail-shooter. Guy calls the character “The Doomslayer”, not “space trooper Henry Rollins”.

“Let’s hear it for Quakecon!” (very muted pity applause from like 3 guys who still care about Quake)

Prey, rail-shooter, couldn’t care less.

Wolfenstein reboots, ha ha BJ has two daughters so now you can be girls shooting guns in a grim Nazi world. Original Wolfenstein was fun, remember? Dumbass Nazis shouting “Mein leben!” as you shot them in a bright 16-color world.

So enough of that.

Todd Howard’s oral history of E3, and the new Skyrim platforms, are amazing. Watch the stream. Skyrim Alexa is just D&D, man. That’s what we do when we play any role-playing game.

Fallout 76? I haven’t played Fallout in a long time, since Fallout 1 on classic Mac, a bit of Fallout 3 on PS3, and some of the iOS Fallout Shelter. But Fallout 76 being an online might be fun. Looks like they’re doing a megaserver like ESO. A bit of survival murder, a bit of building game. It’s kind of Unturned but more hostile? Might be worth trying the BETA.

“I read on the Internet that sometimes our games have bugs?” —Todd Howard

Release on 14 Nov 2018? I’m surprised they’ve got this far without everything leaking everywhere.

The Elder Scrolls Blades: A mobile TES game? Procedural dungeons?! Town-building? YEEEK! Put me in a coma until it comes out! playblades once their servers come back up, it seems they’ve been E3-balled into failure so bad it can’t even return an error page.

A few seconds previews of Starfield, and TES 6. Zero details.

E3 WTF

“With Halo Infinite, we will join Master Chief on his greatest adventure yet, to save Humanity… We’re now at an exceptional moment of creativity in gaming!”
—Phil Spenser, Microsoft Xbone Zero 290 whatever at E3 2018

The ninth (more or less) Halo game, an unseen, suited protagonist with two ranks but no name, a cliché rail-shooter “quest” where you move through linear levels and gun down anything that moves, othering aliens and opposing cultures so you can personally murder them by the thousands. This shit is what you think creativity is?! Fuck you, Phil. Fuck your entire goddamned species and the shit studio that pumps this stuff out for you.

Funny story, I once interviewed with Bungie; I figured they had money and might not be jackasses. I figured wrong: It was top to bottom the douchiest brogrammers I’ve ever met; zero women, even security/reception was a dude; they are exactly what you would expect from their fans. By the end I was just openly telling them what I thought of their non-game, and walked out.

Anyway. I’m waiting for the Bethesda event, since they seem to be the least bad big game company these days.

So to get the “Twitch extension” on the sidebar to work, the “grant access” link does nothing. You have to go to your ESO and Bethesda.net accounts, and link to Twitch. Then back on Twitch, settings, advanced, Grant access. Pain in the ass.

What I’m Watching: Annihilation

Heart of Darkness with 5 female soldier/scientists, in Roadside Picnic crossed with Chaga, ending in Alien and 2001. I haven’t read the books yet, I like some of Vandermeer’s stories & anthologies, but the film really does feel like pastiche. Some of that is the director making a “subjective” adaptation.

The characters are wafer-thin, even Lena (Natalie Portman) and husband Kane who are closest to being people. I love Jennifer Jason Leigh from being Allegra Geller in eXistenZ, but as Dr Ventress there’s nothing there.

Most of it is walking-in-woods scenes like any no-budget B movie. Possibly the weirdest part is it’s supposed to be Florida… But they filmed it in England, and the plants and just the atmosphere are wrong. Which to some extent doesn’t matter, since the area’s “alien”, but it’s the wrong thing that’s wrong.

The three “monsters” are… fine, really not that weird, the first one is like one of those terrible Jaws-ripoff flicks, the last one is literally just one of those creepy spandex bodysuits after some CGI bullshit. One monster scene is good (the chairs), the rest needed help from a horror director.

I’m disappointed, but none of it was terrible, just mediocre pastiche of better stories and movies. I expect people who aren’t well-read think it’s amazing.
★★★☆☆

Cookie warnings are usually quite annoying interruptions to a site’s design, but JetBrains understands what their users like:

jetbrains cookie dialog

I still clicked No.

WWDC Prediction Gumbo

(I like gumbo more than claim chowdah, Ivar’s on the Seattle waterfront is good but I prefer their fish & chips)

  • Predictions
  • iDeath: Dark Mode on the Mac. ✅
  • Item 0: Apple’s best year ever: Shockingly silent. ❌
  • Item 1: Apple announces the end of mechanical keyboards: No hardware. Look for this later this year. ❌
  • Item 2: Apple announces the end of C, C++, Objective-C, AppleScript, Javascript, and Swift, in favor of a new cross-platform language: Workflow: Now called Shortcuts. ✅
  • Item 3: New Macs: No hardware. ❌
  • Item 4: Apple announces all-new game development tools: ARKit 2.0. ✅
  • streaming from a home server or iCloud Games server: No streaming. ❌
  • OpenGL is deprecated and then unsupported: Called it! Apple deprecates OpenGL and OpenCL. ✅
  • HomePod Hi-Fi: No hardware. ❌

Score: 4/9, which at least puts me in range of any pundit.

Fucking seriously, killing OpenGL is a pain in the ass. Unity and such will adapt easily enough, but MMOs and a lot of indie stuff uses OpenGL, and Metal may be too big a rewrite.