Open Thread

Open Thread #279

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48 thoughts on “Open Thread #279

  1. I just watched the CGI movie Dragon Quest: Your Story (2019), which adapts the story of Dragon Quest V. This was one of the most enjoyable movies I have watched in a long time. The story is somewhat predictable — hero, sword, save the world by defeating some baddie who just wants to destroy the world for the sake of it, etc. — but it is told well. Also, the visuals and music are excellent. You will not find any Western production that so willingly embraces beauty. I also wonder if the next Dragon Quest game will be able to deliver visuals at or close to the level of this movie.

    1. I didn’t know this movie existed. It’s always refreshing to find some piece of media that’s relatable and appealing such as how you outlined. I’ve lately been interested in perhaps going back and checking out some of those Studio Ghibli classics, such as Princess Mononoke.

    2. There is also an unexpected part towards the end of Dragon Quest: Your Story where the focus is on the player behind the protagonist. I don’t want to spoil this in any way, but I found this to be extremely well done. Basically, the message is that you should cherish the memories you had when playing Dragon Quest as a child and that this world is there for you to explore also as an adult, no matter who you are. I found it genuinely heart-warming. Of course, a cynic would object that this is like Coca-Cola telling you that you should drink more coke, but this would be very short-sighted as Dragon Quest is a lovingly crafted RPG and very polished. In Dragon Quest XI, there is zero pozz.

      Western reviewers often dismiss Dragon Quest as being simplistic or formulaic. Yet, this is precisely the point. You get a beautiful world to explore where the men are manly and the women are hot, and even the monsters you slay look cute. I don’t think it is trivial to copy Dragon Quest (Pokemon was inspired by it). If it was, it would have been done over and over. Of course, for a game designer that wants to “deconstruct” the genre he or she is working in, ideally while also denigrating the player, producing a genuinely beautiful game is completely impossible. All that is left is trying to criticize those few companies that are able to produce such high-quality games.

  2. I’m kinda wondering if getting young girls/daughters into Gymnastics is a good way to help prevent them from ever becoming obese. After all,the heavier you get,the harder bodyweight movements become. so there’s an immediate negative feedback right there,even without factoring in male attention. This goes alongside the general work ethic that gets ingrained in you as a result of an athletic background.

    To be honest,I think fat chicks in general would be served by actually getting into the weightroom. So many get on treadmills and hardly any of them actually make a difference doing it. I think some body recomposition would go a long way here.

    1. Idk the answer but I definitely think that a gymnast body is more sexy than this newer phenomenon of gym thots. Of course, some resistance training within reason can help create and maintain a lovely female physique. So long as chicks aren’t starting out from a place like morbid obesity, it’s much easier for them compared to men to be near their personal ideal in terms of physique. Whereas many women seem to believe that looking like Chris Hemsworth is “easy”, and no man has an excuse not to look that way.

    2. I have seen a lot of women in gyms who step on treadmills but don’t really use them. They essentially walk on them for ten or fifteen minutes while they swipe on Tinder. On that note, I have very rarely seen a woman break a sweat in a gym.

  3. Aaron, what are your thoughts on ChatGPT and the hype that AGI is coming within a few years?

    Everyone and their dog are touting AI these days, how powerful those tools are and how they will completely change the job market. However, I can’t shake away the feeling that they are basically a really advanced lookup mechanisms. It seems that the key advancement is usage of large language model which enables more complex associations between prompt and data. However, I do no think that human understanding of words is statistical. It seems to me that hype is being created in order to secure more research funding and increase stock value of companies which own these tools.

    Some of the old guard like Roger Penrose and Noam Chomsky share the opinion that physics of consciousness is not fully understood and neural networks as they are today are therefore bound to hit a roadblock on the way to becoming true AGI.

    1. The problem with ChatGPT is that the technology is severely hamstrung by the leftist bias in the model. On top, there is the age-old garbage-in, garbage-out issue. In principle, the technology is interesting, and could replace a lot of knowledge work. Your hunch is correct. These AIs extract tokens from a message, look up information, and output it in a certain format. These are not digital brains in any way.

    2. On that note, Facebook’s AI model has been leaked on 4chan and supposedly it comes without PC brakes. I’m expecting internet to go on fire if someone manages to get it fully deployed and freely available.

    3. But when you take a closer look at it, we are all treating this technology as some kind of oracle rather than a glorified lookup machine. I’m not even sure how it is supposed to form a definite opinion on a political matter if the training dataset contains contradictory views.
      Of course I am mean this in a theoretical sense, I am aware that in practice it is intentionally tampered with to be biased.

  4. I’m on the 3rd chapter of Remake4. First impressions: it’s pretty awesome. I’m playing hardcore difficulty (for veterans of RE4, it said). It’s neat to have your expectations in this game subtly subverted in minor ways. You’ll come upon a section that you’ve seen a dozen times, and then suddenly something unexpected will happen instead. Though, sometimes the exact thing you expect will happen. It keeps you always wondering and guessing. Also, the game tries to bait you a lot. I’ll give a minor spoiler-free example. There was a part where I passed through a gate and a Ganado was standing still with his back facing me. I thought, “hmm, I’ll just sneak up on this guy.” As soon as you get within a certain proximity he starts slowly walking away. By the time you’ve caught up to him you’ve been baited around a stack of crates, with another Ganado staring point blank at you effectively alerting everyone within proximity. Btw, this is Ashley’s model in the game:

    Her legs have what appears to be hoes, but they are bare. I took the pic from my phone, and there is shading on the legs in the model.

    1. Also, just wanted to add that hardcore mode in RE4 is nothing like REmake 2. It’s much more forgiving, though I assume it’ll unlock a professional difficulty or something after this play-through.

    2. Thanks for sharing your first impressions of REmake 4. This sounds very promising. Ashley is a let down but I am sure that modders are soon going to fix this issue. There are already a few basic mods available:
      I am not too fond of Leon’s character model in this game, but swapping him with Dante or Leon from REmake 2 would fix this easily.

    3. I’ve noticed something pretty interesting recently. First off, the guns in this game are nerfed pretty hard. The lens effect when using the scope on the bolt action rifle makes it almost unusable for sniping situations considering how aggressive the enemies are. It’s probably best to use it very sparingly to surprise the enemy before alerting everyone to your position. I assume the semi-auto rifle will have a much more refined scope attachment. I’m also guessing that a lot of old school RE4 fans aren’t going to enjoy the defensive aspect of combat this time around (I’m still having a blast).

      The interesting thing I’ve kind of noticed is that Ashley is completely vulnerable and submissive in this game (so far). She’s also not a bitch anymore and looks up to Leon for guidance in pretty much every situation. However, I suspect to compensate for this they turned Luis into sort of a bumbling fool. Originally, he was certainly instantly likable and very suave. Now his charm comes off as cringy and beta, and he’s more of a shady and suspicious person. Also, Ada has already done what I suspected she might do.

    4. I’m still waiting for the “slutty Ashley” mods to drop. Also, I don’t like what Capcom has done to Luis. Just based on the trailers you can tell that he is an entirely different person.

      I am not sure how I feel about having to play defensively in REmake 4, considering that the original is one of the most compelling power fantasies in vidya.

    5. I’ll tell you something I really did enjoy about the remake so far (none spoiler). There’s a shooting gallery mini game similar to the original that grants you certain incentives in the form of perks. The thing I really loved about it is that when you hit a certain points threshold you enter a bonus phase, and it plays and updated version of the original intro Spanish flamenco-sounding theme. It absolutely got me pumped to hear that in this context:

    6. “I am not sure how I feel about having to play defensively in REmake 4, considering that the original is one of the most compelling power fantasies in vidya.”

      Considering that, you may want to skip this one. If you’re ultra curious you could always watch a stream obviously. This is certainly more in line with a survival horror game than a power fantasy type of game. For the latter, DMCV fits the bill as well as Doom.

    7. On second thought, I think Ashley is wearing hoses. Either that or her legs are perpetually shaded to appease the ethics department. Ada’s legs are completely obscured as well.

      This is probably going to sound like a major turn off, but this game is starting to feel like Japanese The Last of Us. Basically, they took RE4 and gave it the Sony treatment. To be fair, they probably pull it off way better than the Western devs, but the similarities are striking. Crouching steal mechanics, crafting (why not just drop ammo instead of gun powder and scrap), and also a more dramatized depiction of events. Also, the further you get into the story the more you notice that content has been cut. You’re initially given the impression that the whole game is going to expanded upon, as there are numerous side quests to tackle and not too much of anything meaningful is being cut out. However, the side quests are just lame incentives to procure treasure (which you need to have a chance on hardcore), and ultimately a poor consolation to some of what has been subtracted from the game.

      Also, Ada’s new voice actor sounds like shit. Idk what they were thinking during casting. The whole marketing claim that QTEs were done away with is simply only a half truth. There are no sudden cutscene QTE surprises, but they are inserted into the gameplay instead. Some people have complained that they dislike the merchant this time around, but I think he’s pretty cool actually. Leon’s smart ass remarks have definitely got some laughs out of me as well. Anyways, my hopes are to eventually get good enough plow through newgame+ super aggressively and feel like a god, instead of apprehensively exploring each new section and playing very defensively. The infinite knife unlock should certainly help.

    8. The number and details of the graphics options in REmake 4 is astounding:

      I think it is safe to say that Capcom considers the PC their primary platform whereas the consoles get gimped version of their games.

    9. Dude, you are not supposed to talk me out of wanting to play REmake 4! Telling me that this game is like a Japanese The Last of Us is quite demotivating. On a more serious note, I will get this game at some point. Even if there is some pozzed garbage in it at the end, I am quite certain that the gameplay is good enough to make it worth playing through at least once. Those stealth and crafting mechanics sound horrible, though.

    10. Would you say it’s also perhaps Capcom’s way of putting the product in the hands of the consumer to some extent (via the ability to produce mods, for example), or am I stretching? One thing I’ve noticed about Ashley is that she constantly sounds as if she is getting railed, or making moderate sex noises as she struggles to keep up with you. This title certainly has more unique graphics options than other games I’ve seen. The destructible environments option can actually make stealth more difficult. With it off, I can bust open an item crate on top of some otherwise destructible crates or chicken cages and not alert an enemy within about 10 feet off distance. Turn the option on, though, and the whole thing shatters and alerts the enemy. Also, diverse enemy animations could very well grant the enemy a higher chance of dodging a a rifle bullet merely by chance.

    11. The options Capcom offers in REmake 4 go well beyond other titles and, as you rightly point out, venture into modding as there are also gameplay implications. I think that Capcom understands that the PC audience is more sophisticated and not opposed to twiddling with parameters. Perhaps they also wanted to preempt someone else having to write a special configuration tool for fine-tuning the graphics. As a consumer, I think that those options are great as they allow me to tailor the experience and also make trade-offs myself. I can decide if I think I need high-quality shadows in my game, for instance. In contrast, many PS5 games only have simplistic “performance” and “image quality” settings, presenting a false dichotomy as it hides the many settings you could modify.

      I should also add that extensive graphics options in PC games have been around for a while. Capcom is remarkable in that regard as they are, historically, a console developer. By offering such a great number of options, they show that they understand the PC market. Most impressive is that the game tells you the implications of the various settings by showing you how much of the GPU memory you will need for it. You can therefore mix and match, just like with the Covid vaxxes.

    12. Something interesting I noticed related to the the graphics is that once I reached the castle the demands on the GPU reduced significantly. I could suddenly run the game at 60 fps and above (usually bouncing back from mid 50s-60s depending on circumstances).

    13. This is probably due to a relative lack of details compared to the village section. Vegetation is quite resource heavy, after all.

    14. My GPU usage quite definitely freed up about 1/3 of its processing power. I was able to toy around with more settings and get a higher quality image plus more graphical effects. I toggled on the hair strands and booted the game up even, but was surprised to see how resource heavy that one setting was alone.

      If I had to make a suggestion, I’d say just catch up on the backlog of great premium games you’ve not yet experienced due to being on an extensive gaming hiatus. That should keep you quite busy for a long time, and by the time you’re caught up and ready for REmake 4 Capcom will have already reduced the cost of the game, plus the savings you’ll get from one of their seemingly monthly sales.

      Btw, hardcore mode is quite a slog for a first time play-through. I’ve almost gotten progression locked a few times, and it just so happened the RNG gods finally would bless me with some decent drops to struggle through to the next checkpoint.

    15. In terms of costly graphics effects, hair and shadows are prime culprits. Ray-tracing is, too, but this one probably goes without saying. I also recommend playing with the various anti-aliasing methods. Often, the presets are overkill. If the game shows a static preview window, you may only want to use it as a rough indication. It is much more important how the game looks in motion. On that note, lowering the screen resolution also helps a lot. 1440p is quite sharp and the performance gains are normally worth it compared to “4K”, i.e. 2160p.

      I have been looking into the PC gaming catalogue, which is quite intimidating both in terms of quantity and quality. To my great surprise, even a lot of obscure Japanese games are on Steam, such as Earth Defense Force, Senran Kagura, or Onechebara whereas I had only expected big sellers like Tales of Arise or Dragon Quest. This is quite remarkable because Japanese companies once had a reputation for not being interested in releasing games for PCs at all. I intend to take an hour or two to go through the list of best reviewed PC reviews on Metacritic:
      This site obviously has a mainstream slant, but as I know more about niche games than mainstream releases, this is not an issue. For a better curated list, this one from PC Gamer seems quite good. There are also sites that list all games on Steam with a user ranking of “overwhelmingly positive”, but those I have found to be hit-or-miss, simply because of self-selection bias. In particular some indie games appeal a lot to a narrow subset of players while the rest ignores them.

      Could those item drops in hardcore mode be due to dynamic difficulty? In the original you also got more items if you were struggling. This did not apply to “professional mode”, though.

    16. The aforementioned list by PC Gamer seems to get worse the further you get to the top. Hipster favorite Disco Elysium is supposedly the best PC game there is, albeit I would argue that a “top x” list should not cater too much to niche interests. Furthermore, I hat to chuckle when one of those game journos confesses to “not be good at games”. This is to be expected, but those people should understand that this is not a badge of honor.

    17. I think REmake 4 needs some pretty aggressive anti-aliasing. I was using performance mode in FFXSR 2.0 and Leon’s flashlight during a cutscene had some of the most jagged lines I had ever seen. Quality mode produced a fine picture. REmake 2 also had weird issues like that when not utilizing the full extent of its anti-aliasing capabilities. Very noticeable on certain edges and on female zombie’s hair from a distance.

      I scrolled through both game lists, but honestly I doubt I’d even play 30% of all of those games. And of those less than 30% I’ve already played a lot of them. I’m at the beginning of the island section in REmake 4. I don’t feel as if the castle is as iconic as before. It’s pretty cool and all, but I remember it as being my favorite section of the OG RE4. So far, I think I enjoyed the village more so in this version. Btw, look at this image I took during the mini-game area of Ashley and tell me that you don’t appreciate Capcom for the ripe modding potential included here:

    18. I noticed those jaggies also in DMC V, which is likewise an RE Engine game. This was with using the lowest anti-aliasing setting, though. I could run the game with better settings but it does not bother me enough to change the setting.

      The game lists I posted looked better at a superficial level. The more interesting games on the Metacritic list show up in the low 80s, if not lower, and there are so many games that it is a slog to go through them. I’ll stick to recommendations from actual gamers. That being said, there were few games I probably would not have come across if they had not been included in some mainstream list of recommendations, like Pentiment or Prey (2017). I am not sure whether I will play those, though, but I have jotted them down to look into them more at some later point.

    19. This is a surprisingly sexy pose of Ashley. I hope there is at least some innuendo in the scene. There is furthermore a non-zero chance that this scene will be the starting point of some morally reprehensible fan-videos.

    20. I don’t think I’ve picked up on any innuendo. She mostly acts like your cheerleader, praising you when you do something cool and being concerned if you take too much damage. She mostly comments on Leon for being a cool dude and thinks he looks dashing, or something. We’ll see what happens during the jet ski scene, but I don’t expect too much.

  5. I just spent some time setting up my new (old) laptop. It has been years since I last used MS Windows and I had forgotten what an incredible pile of dogshit this operating system is. During installation, it wants to cajole you into creating a “Microsoft account” so that they can track and profile you. The way to get out of it is to disable your WiFi. I found this incredibly devious because right before you get asked to create an account you get the option of connecting to your network. This is an incredibly shady business practice, but what else can you expect from Microsoft? It reminded me of the “no jab, no job” practices that our caring governments ran for a while during the scamdemic.

    In terms of games, Tetris Effect runs quite well but I found the presentation quite tacky. Navigating through multiple menus to get to the modes you want to play is also quite a step back compared to the 20+ year old version of Tetris I normally play. The worst part of the game are the vocals in the background music. If there is anything I wonder how I could ever have lived without, it’s surely listening to a brotha rapping while I slam down Tetris pieces. I’ll give it a pass.

    The next game I installed was Caladrius Blaze. It runs really well and the graphics are outstanding for this genre but to my shock and horror, it is not possible to freely configure keyboard controls. This matters to me because I am not going to use different keyboard layouts depending on the game. A workaround is using a tool called auto hotkey. This is the kind of tedium you normally want to avoid when gaming, though.

    1. Another trend in modern gaming annoys me: extensive end-user license agreements which you need to scroll though page by page or line by line.

      Devil May Cry 5 runs surprisingly well on this old laptop, by the way. Of course I have to dial down settings to medium or low but I can’t really complain. The frame rate is really solid, too, thus far. If my PS3 controller gets recognized, I may tackle this game first.

    2. I see no reason why your usb controller wouldn’t be compatible. Definitely let me know how you’re getting on with DMCV, though! I really had a lot of fun with that one. Btw, if you do dive into REmake 2 at some point, do yourself a favor and don’t play hardcore mode until you know the layout. There’s a pretty high chance you’ll exhaust your resources and get locked out of progression if you haven’t played it at least once before. Beating that mode the first time requires a lot of planning and item/save management.

    3. With PCs very little is ever straightforward. While the PS3 controller got recognized by Windows instantaneously, Steam cucked me because it is not an “XInput device”. Neither is the PS4 controller, on that note. This is simply Microsoft blocking the competition. Their XBox controllers work out of the box in Windows, but not Sony’s. To fix this, I had to install two tools, first “DsHidMini” to trick those XInput-only games into believing that they are talking to a Microsoft controller and afterwards I had to install “DS4Windows” to correct the shoddy button mapping of the former tool, which assigned the right analog stick to the L/R triggers so that you could only turn the camera left and right, and the L1/R1 buttons were mapped to start/select, which was absolutely ridiculous. Now everything works. The easy solution is to just buy an Xbox controller, though, but I prefer not to give this shitty company any money.

    4. I’m currently using the 8bitdo Ultimate controller, the one with the 2.4g wireless USB receiver (50USD). It has a toggle switch in the back for D and X input, so I imagine it would work with your setup out the gate (hopefully). Not saying you should definitely consider this controller, but what drew me to it was its nice quality and the asymmetrical joystick layout I prefer. It even has a couple paddles on the rear and the ability to adjust stick/trigger sensitivity.

    5. The 8bitdo Ultimate is supposedly the most advanced modern controller. This is precisely the controller I had earmarked for purchasing in case there are issues with my PS3 controller. I came across it when I looked up “stick drift”, which is a very common problem on the PS4 controller. Apparently, the 8bitdo controller cannot develop stick drift at all, and hopefully this is correct and not just marketing hyperbole. I had stick drift happen with both PS4 controllers I had, despite quite modest use, and on those the rubber of the stick dissolved, too. The PS4 controller was unbelievably poorly made. My old X360 controller also developed stick drift issues, and I have read that the Nintendo Switch is also plagued by it. With a PS3 controller, stick drift is less of an issue. I only had this happen once, and it was with a used — abused, to be more precise — controller that came with a cheap console I bought online.


    Do you guys suspect that there is cheating involved here? I didn’t watch the whole video,but he seems to have killed every zombie enemy here with just the knife. never uses the pistol,and never takes dmg at any point in the run.

    I could feasibly see this if your only enemies are those slow zombie humanoids,but the zombie dogs are not slow.

    1. Considering the age of this video, if he’s cheating then someone has probably already analyzed it.

    2. I think only someone with good knowledge of the game and its mechanics can answer this question properly. There are many ways to cheat, after all. A relatively simple one is to combine a segmented run and replacing the audio track to remove any inconsistencies. People can also use save states and, more recently, some emulators even offer a “rewind” function. The latter is the prime method of cheating nowadays.

      Someone with good knowledge of the game could assess if the strategies used are plausible. In particular with older games, some people use approaches that are simply not safe. Thus, people would not use them. A cheater, though, is often not familiar with the finer points of those games and therefore he (mostly a he) will reveal himself as a cheater involuntarily. The current gold standards, by the way, is to stream your gameplay as it is a lot more difficult to cheat in such a setting.

    1. Regarding the war in the Ukraine, it has been well established that the military-industrial complex is filling its coffers with it. They get paid, after all. This reminds me of a story I recently read regarding one of the German arms manufacturers who is eager to build a tank factory in the Ukraine. They don’t care about the Ukraine losing the war, but they surely want to get paid for their products.


    I linked this before,but man I can’t get over it. Really shows the validity of your recommendation Aaron about just staying single if all you are capable of getting in your life is garbage tier chicks like this. His time woulda been so much more fulfilling and far less problematic had he spent it on a hobby and just wackin off to porn when he’s horny than becoming an unpaid (and unappreciated) caretaker like this. (I have to wonder how awkward sex must have been,if they even got to it at all…)

    At least he accomplished something at the end of this video. Lost 700lbs of dead weight in a single day. That’s a new world record right there!

    1. This video is blocked in my cucked country, so I need to use a third-party website to access it. I can only imagine that the reason it is blocked here is because it paints this woman in a very bad light from the get-go. By the way, videos sexualizing children are a-OK here and so is borderline pornographic content of women showing off their breasts in the context of “breastfeeding”. The latter is something I only recently learned about and was not sure whether it is a joke.

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