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Comment Re:Remeber game box covers? (Score 1) 217

ASCII? You spoiled child, back in my day our games graphics were displayed with blinking readout lights on a board. Old Flashey, we used to call that board. A game of "Hit The Button At The Right Time" used to cost a dime, which was two hours wages at the time, but oh, how I sunk so many dimes into Old Flashey...

Comment Re:How come? (Score 1) 217

I actually liked the gameplay concept. There's nothing wrong with the concept for many people. The problem is that they failed to actually deliver the concept.

I think the difference between the concept and the reality does, however, lay bare a more important element. What most people want out of procgen isn't just that the algorithms can generate diversity... it's that they can generate scenarios that even the coders wouldn't have expected. Some algorithms can do that. Others cannot. NMS's absolutely cannot, they're just standard fractal noise terrain with random primitives, animals that are just armatures with random parts swapped out, etc. For anyone thinking of taking up the mantle of such a game after the failure of NMS, I think that's really going to be a key aspect. Because players are always going to explore worlds faster than developers can make new content, so if your engine is limited to making "things that the devels have thought of", it's always going to wear thin rather quickly.

The real world we live in always keeps presenting new fascinating worlds every time we explore a new place, for a key reason. Real worlds are built by fluid and rigid body interactions (primarily fluid, at least on the large scale) with variable chemistry. Physical properties like viscosity vary over numerous orders of magnitude in different pressure and temperature environments, and there's thousands of different chemical constituents that can be found in bulk, depending on the environment. Furthermore, each body is exposed to anisotropic conditions (bombardment, solar radiation, Coriolis force due to its rotation, etc), and widely varying local conditions like gravity. Basically, the computer equivalent would be CFD with chemical equilibria. Now, of course you can't do some extreme-detail CFD simulation of planets in realtime. But IMHO, if you want interesting generation, you want a generation algorithm that can emulate these sort of *effects*, even if the underlying core mechanism is radically different. Terrain generation algorithms generally make a goal of emulate the effects of uplift/folding, erosion, volcanism, impacts, etc. Recognizing how radically, many-orders-of-magnitude different these can all be in different environments, and with different materials in the same environment, seems key to making landscapes that can defy even creator expectations.

I think Pluto should be the gold standard. Before NH arrived, who would have thought that what we'd find was a giant scar facing Charon where the mantle bubbles out in supermassive convection cells, with mountain-sized icebergs drifting around the soup and collecting in iceberg-mountain ranges on the shore (just to name a couple of the really bizarre things New Horizons discovered)? The issue isn't "could you code a generation algorithm to emulate Pluto?"; of course one can. The question is, "could you code a generation algorithm that would have come up with things as weird as Pluto, without having to explicitly spell them out, without you ever having seen them before"?

Comment Re:What exactly are they doing with it? (Score 1) 43

Why would anyone spend hashing efforts on those blockchains? And if you "solve" the need for hashing by making the blockchain private within a group of companies, where you expect none of them to attack the blockchains integrity, then your product is no different from having a MySQL database with restricted login ...

The reason Bitcoin exists is that they're the tokens distributed to make people spend efforts on hashing the blockchain. Without tokens you have no hashing. A blockchain thus cannot exist without a currency (defined as the value of those tokens).

Comment Re:Whiny entitled UK gamers, nuff said. (Score 1) 217

I tried to convince myself that it was a "relaxing", "meditative" experience, a "palate cleanser" if you will.

After a while, I just couldn't convince myself of even that minimal goal. It's just... nothing. The terrible gameplay actively discourages you from doing the only thing that the game really offers (exploration), and the exploration is only skin deep due to the shallowness of their generation algorithm.

And really, how can you say NMS feels "solid", when you can walk right through the animals and things don't fall when you mine out the ground from underneath them? What's the opposite of "solid" in this context?

Comment Re:don't get your hope up (Score 1) 217

They do! Those big firefly-esque ones handle differently than the little colonial-viper-ish ones.

No, they don't. They all have the same speed, turning radius, etc. The only difference is that on the big ones, when you get out you can take falling damage ;)

You could do it by going to a world someone will later return to and mining resources

Nope. It has no effect. Resources don't sync between instances.

they were planning on getting, or taking a crashed ship, or if they did any terraforming with the grenades, using your own grenades to destroy what they did. (If you do enough terraforming, it sticks)

No, it distinctly does not. And this has been known since the first day after release. Two players even sat around mining stuff in front of each other - even day/night and locations of sentinels, etc aren't synced between player instances. Heck, more to the point, if you mine something, leave the system, then go back to the same spot, all of your changes will be lost, even in your own local instance.

And I do believe that selling enough of certain items to vendors will change the prices offered. You sell enough Emeril to a will lower the price it offers.

It does not. More to the point, it escapes me how you could not realize this, as this is the way most people make money - searching out a starred system and selling the same item over and over again, because the price remains fixed no matter how much you sell.

Is there anything more you'd like to just make up about the game? Or did you pick up a copy from Bizarro Universe or something that's a different game from the one that the rest of us have?

Comment Re: don't get your hope up (Score 1) 217

Nice reading comprehension. In the game files. The game files distributed contain the actual assets used by the game, and then a bunch of random stuff not used by the game, in different directories. These unused assets range all the way to the whimsical, such as a lego-man dummy player model on a unicycle, to a monkey in a hat, to the Fallout logo. Among the "not used by the game" stuff are the files that were used to fake the E3 demo, in an "E3" directory. These models are only partially rigged, and thus could not actually be used in the game. More to the point, if you try to include a model that large in the game, you can't even see it. Creatures in game don't behave like in the trailer, their actions don't affect the landscape like in the trailer, etc - all of that was hard-coded. Faked.

Really, once you start digging into the game files, it's amazing the depth that their fakery went. Even the "player-named star systems" that you see during the loading screen are just from a hard-coded list in the game files.

Comment Re:it's opposite of a sleeper.hit. (Score 1) 217

Indeed. I was amazed at how weak the generation engine is. Don't get me wrong, it's very pretty - they're using a good graphics engine and have artists with a good eye. But the terrain is just standard diamond-square (fractal noise terrain) modified with random hard-coded primitives. No biomes, no continents, just noise and a global sea level. The animals are just built by swapping out pieces of armatures and randomly choosing premade textures. They don't even bother to check that any of the parts make sense (lots and lots of "derpasauruses" who missed leg day), or that the metadata about the animal matches its form (it's amazing how many vegetarian T-rexes you'll encounter). Plants are often not modified at all. In a lot of cases they inexplicably put the exact same thing on numerous planets (the same aggro crab), or even every planet (the same giant coral, the same mushroom-covered rock, etc - found on every planet in the game).

So. Weak.

Comment Re:don't get your hope up (Score 1) 217

Indeed, it's amazing how many people on the NMS reddit sub have written posts about "I'm trying to find a way to enjoy this game and it hasn't been working... please make suggestions!"

Sadly, you can't force fun. I think people would have been a lot more likely to forgive the missing features and even the explicit unambiguous lies** if the game had at least been fun. Except that it's not. HG is terrible at gameplay design. Their formula for gameplay is really simple: "don't let them get hurt, make everything available and easy to acquire, and then - so that the game isn't over in a matter of minutes - load the game down with grind." And if people finish too quickly? "Dramatically increase the grind."

  ** While a lot of people singled out the multiplayer lie as a big one (where even the manufacturers had been duped, with the boxes having to add a sticker to cover up the multiplayer label), the whole planetary dynamics one may be even more brazen. With multiplayer, they tried to pretend that the reason players couldn't see each other was because the servers were overloaded - even though there's no player model in the game files, no attempts to send packets, no open ports, no references to multiplayer anywhere in the game files, day/night cycles and NPC positions aren't synced between instances, and you can outright pause the game. But in the rotation case, after having made fun of games that just use skyboxes and talked up their real-world dynamics, they made up this whole story about how playtesters had been "confused" by things moving around, so they "slowed down" planetary motion. The reality is, of course, that they use skyboxes. Nothing moves relative to anything else, and nothing can; planets are just placed at random coordinates in a box. You can't have things orbit the sun when the sun is just a painting and doesn't even match the location of your light source. Unless they want us to believe that to "slow down rotation", rather than simply setting speeds to zero, they removed their entire solar system model and entire lighting model and re-did them with an entirely faked one.

Comment Re:don't get your hope up (Score 1) 217

More to the point, a lot of the statements made by Sean / Hello Games and their actions seem to have been deliberately designed to keep people in past the refund point. They spent a lot of time plugging the concept that there's "secrets" and "easter eggs", that planets / star systems get more interesting the closer one gets to the center, etc. Then - after someone managed to get to the center on the first day by grinding nonstop all day (the game is extremely focused on grind), their first reaction was to.... quadruple the grind with a day-one patch (introducing a distance-measuring bug at the same time). Basically:

1) Tell people that there's amazing things at the center
2) Make it take a long time for people to actually get there
3) By the time people discover that there's nothing there, they're long past the time that they can claim a refund

The very nature of the game works against players in this regard. A player's first thought, upon discovering that they're not finding anything like in the trailers is, "Well, there's 18 quadrillion planets... the stuff in the trailers must exist somewhere, the game can't be just the derpy stuff I've been encountering so far." By the time one has explored a statistically significant number of planets to come to the realization that, no, they've basically seen the whole game, that it really is that shallow... they're long past the time in which they can claim a refund. The game is also packed with "trophies" for doing trivial actions - which is also something companies take into account when deciding whether to give refunds ("Sorry, you've already done X % of the trophies....")

It's amazing how many people you find (or at least used to find ;) ) on the reddit sub for the game who seem to basically be trying to find a way to make themselves enjoy the game while they searched for things that they had been led to believe existed. They usually transitioned from this phase to very angry as they learned the extent of the fakery. Even the named stars you see in the loading screen aren't actually places people have named, they're just a hard-coded list.

Don't get me wrong, there are some people who actually enjoy it. But they're an extremely small number; the game is approaching half a percent of its initial player base. For a while most seemed to be using it as a screenshot-generating walking simulator. Now a lot of them seem to be spending their time carving rocks into very poor approximations of statues via the crude mining system.

Comment Re:1Million People (Score 1) 475

All in all that suggests the human colonists aren't going to be competitive with robotic miners, and thus can't make money by mining.

Have you seen how slow Mars rovers move and how carefully they have to weigh each action, in an environment where if you mess up, there's nobody there to rescue / repair you? Have you seen how much maintenance and consumables is involved in mining?

There's a world of difference between a (multi-billion dollar) rover that slowly inches along a surface looking at rocks, and one that mines and ships commercial quantities.

The concept that "robots will do everything" is simply not realistic. Do robots do everything for the astronauts on the ISS? Of course not; the astronauts there are basically glorified construction workers and lab techs. Why? Because it's cheaper and higher throughput - and that's without serious communication delays. It's certainly an arguable point as to whether it's worth the cost sending humans in the first place - but once they're there, there's no debate at all about whether it's cheaper to use their labour or to engineer, build, and send robots to do the same task.

Submission + - The Psychological Reasons Behind Risky Password Practices (

Orome1 writes: Despite high-profile, large-scale data breaches dominating the news cycle – and repeated recommendations from experts to use strong passwords – consumers have yet to adjust their own behavior when it comes to password reuse. A global Lab42 survey highlights the psychology around why consumers develop poor password habits despite understanding the obvious risk, and suggests that there is a level of cognitive dissonance around our online habits. When it comes to online security, personality type does not inform behavior, but it does reveal how consumers rationalize poor password habits.

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