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Anyway

I'm not even saying this is hot shit.  I mean, I have access to the Reddit; I know what's up.  What I'm saying is that I don't make shit in games.  But I make things in this one.

(Oh, and yeah.  There's some lumber resting in that crook up top, like a jaunty cap.  It's very high up.  I'll get it later.)

(CW)TB

Okay. So. Since the last time we talked on Monday, where I was like, "I guess Valheim sold a million copies this week," they just announced that they sold another million copies. You know, sometimes you look at the roadmap for an Early Access game you've bought, and you wonder if you're gonna see any of that stuff. I think we might actually see all that stuff. I can't imagine the pressure. Might be time to hire that sixth employee...?

We've consolidated in Vorkheim now, it's attached to the mystical portal nexus the boys invented. I have a sense of how they've put these together, I think it requires a lot of Eyeballs, but I've never actually done it myself. I've been way too busy sailing to the island east of us - let's call it Dvergrheim, because they definitely fucking live there - just to get the kinda bronze throughput we need to go after the Swamp. I understand it's bad. That definitely tracks with other Swamps, it's all there in the data. I just know they have iron there which I need to make an even more ridiculous mead hall than the one I already built. I have read that iron is also useful for making incredibly hard clothes but until I start dying a lot all iron is going directly into the Svartrafn and that's what's up.

A scourge greater than any other is the honking of deer. I feel like I've heard deer! I know what sounds they make. I don't know what sounds these deer are making. Obviously, putting a stop to the sound is a straightforward process. Well, sorta. For hoofed ruminants these beasts have certainly mastered the Serpentine. But they have a lot to say on a variety of topics and twenty hours in I feel like I've heard it. I'm familiar with their position on… rocks.

Eric (Edge Benson, Notorious EJB, etc.) from Acquisitions Intoxicated and I were playing on our own server for a while, clambering up the tech tree, until it became clear that it was way more fun to make a massive village together, venturing into the twilight woods to all strike a vein of copper at the same time. Your character is completely portable. Out of a concern for balance, you can't walk through teleporters with a lot of metals. It's okay to be mad at it but the main thing it does is emphasize the need for multiple functional settlements which I can't bring myself to hate. What you can do is go to another world for resources and bring them back. It's strange to think of the homestead we clawed out of the hostile earth as nothing more than spare parts but the thought is getting less strange by the hour.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 3 days ago

I bought Minecraft when it was ten dollars. At least, I think it was ten dollars. It was close to that. It was about that many years ago, so don't hold me to it. I think it's really cool but I never actually lost myself to it. Valheim feels like Minecraft to me, except I actually fell in.

I think the first time I ever saw "PS1, but as a vibe" was Due Process, a 5v5 tactical shooter I saw at PAX East a few years back. Valheim has got some hearty pixels, but then it has incredible light that shows them things off with incredible clarity. Depending on the time of day, these poofy gentlemen go from muted, impressionistic agents of color to crisp hyper-reality under a flash of lightning. It's just a pleasure to be there. To live there. To return to.

Mike, Kara, Noah, and myself don't really play the same game as Gabriel the Younger and his band of Teen Raiders, even though it's ostensibly the same server. I only see them when they return home for snacks and leave in their longboat. I suspect this dynamic is probably very common on Minecraft servers, groups with playstyles so divergent that they're functionally parallel, but because I never spent serious time becoming part of a server's culture I haven't really seen it. The one time I spent a few days on a Minecraft server my only act was harvesting just enough wood to make signs so I could establish canonical names for geological phenomena. All we care about in Valheim is making a beautiful place. We're informed through global announcements when the elder boys kill a boss I've never seen with my own eyes. They do this beyond the horizon, while we finish the road from Vorkheim to the old settlement. We stack the stones and wood neatly along the road in consideration of our future selves.

The publisher, Coffee Stain, has the kind of record now that makes me automatically interested in everything they put out. You can go back to the Sanctum games, or even Goat Simulator, but three times now - with Deep Rock Galactic, Satisfactory, and now Valheim - they've found gold in this co-op sandbox space that has got to be the most reliably gifted genre in history. A million sales were announced on February 10th, and three million sales on February 19th. They sold a million copies this week. The team, Iron Gate Studios, is like five fucking people.

Coffee Stain is also, apparently, trying to Hero a Might And Magic, via a game called Songs of Conquest whose trailer doesn't communicate much aside from the fact that I would buy whatever it is trying to sell.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 6 days ago

I'll talk more about Valheim later, after I've played more. But I'd say that's the main takeaway - it's my intention to play a lot more, with more people.

The most important thing to discuss at this juncture is the strange polearm in Wednesday's strip, up in the attic:

When Mikhail was drawing the strip on the stream, talk turned - as it invariably does - to being hoist by one's own petard. There is a seemingly endless supply of petards, and hoists, and the interplay between them in this doomed era easily expands to fill the available hours. I recently made the following assertion in a post about the Snyder Cut:

"I'd never accept a task like this; it'd be like someone paying you to build an elaborate, multimillion dollar petard hoist designed explicitly to hoist your own petard."

I imagined that a petard was in some way related to a tabard, like the kind you wore with your guildies in Ironforge or wherever the vile and treacherous Horde cavorts. Obviously, there's a lot of excess fabric; it's easy to imagine the hook from a nearby hoist catching it in some way, even if you are just cranking it up yourself to get it ready for the next thing in need of elevation. Imagine it: you're winding like crazy, and then - bam! You're a couple feet off the ground. Hilarious! And a cautionary tale about indiscriminate cranking that has endured throughout the ages.

The device Gabriel has placed here in the foreground of the strip is a petard - to his thinking, a petard is something like a Guisarme, a hooked martial weapon whose long pole and curved blade might lend itself to a startling hoist. It's almost impossible to truly relate how wrong we both were.

As I learned from a reader after I revealed my ignorance in the post, "hoist with his own petard" means to have something blow up in your face. A petard is something like a breaching charge. It's not a pointy stick and it's not a WoW tabard. My favorite thing about it is that every one of these is completely different, and only one is correct, but we all knew what the phrase meant rhetorically. I've been delighted about it for days.

I'm not technically home, or even literally home.  I'm not home!  So I can't manage motorsports, which is a bummer because last week we got this shit back on track - truly locking in another year of our storied career with two cars in the points.  That said, I have every confidence you will find yourselves well served by the stream from ten or so on.  

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 1 week ago

I was playing Gunfire Reborn with Gabriil and Kara on Monday, and their youngest rounded it out. He's good at shit like this so he was an excellent addition. I asked him what he thought of the game, and he said that it was pretty good, but that it copied a lot of stuff from Fortnite.

I was curious to hear this. I most often see Gunfire Reborn depicted as the twisted and unnatural spawn of Hades and Borderlands. It's Hades insofar as it has loops and permadeath I guess, and it's Borderlands because… sometimes you get a gun that is better than a previous gun that you got. Is that… is that robust? As a cosmology?

The main thing Gunfire Reborn gets from Fortnite is that you can get people up after they've gone down. I wanted to be that Uncle, the Uncle I actually am, and start talking about CliffyB, and how actually the same person made another game before - a game that became a whole series, and you could get your friends up in that game also. And how the game he calls Fortnite, which did not invent that mechanic and only inherited its use, was largely considered a failure until a strange and mutant limb grew and grew from it until it became something like a fiddler crab's major claw, bigger than the rest of its body.

But it's like… who even gives a shit. It's only important to me because I happened to be there at the time. In a way, a way that doesn't even require significant rhetorical leaps, Fortnite is precisely how kids experience the history of the medium. It's a lossy form of compression, to be sure. There's some missing stuff. But if he ever wants to know this shit, I'll be around.

(CW)TB out.




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