Podcasts (2013)
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(See bold text for potential spading ideas.)

Podcast #29

(End of 2012 was rough. Looks like we can make ends meet with Lyz working and Kinak doing Metroplexity/Twilight Heroes full time.)

Q: If we can make silver bullets and bone bullets, why not gold bullets?

A: Actually, that has a lot to do with the amounts that you're working with. (Not that gold bullets would do anything special other than kill werebadgers.) But you're just working with gold leaf so not enough to use.

Q: How does one exactly make nitric (fuming) acid out of hydrochloric (powerful) acid? Is the bat guano special in some way?, or is it just a gameplay abstraction?

A: Pretty sure you add Nitrogen to HCl to make nitric acid. Yep. It's roughly the chemical composition you want to use.

Q: How does the player character manage to bite drones and armored, armed men to death comfortably? I'd imagine it'd hurt us almost as much as them, even if we do regenerate. Especially if they're punching us in the face at the very same time.

A: That's a question that's also asked in character, and that is kind of creepy, and kind of intended to be creepy.

Q: If Officer Stone can buy Midgard drones, could we in later expansions?

A: If there is a point where the pet system is expanded to where you have combat pets following you around, maybe. They're pretty expensive though so probably not worth the benefit for the cost. Maybe as some PvP benefit rather than attacking directly.

Q: How bad exactly, is Southside fried chicken? The crisped bat wing is said to be better than it, but it's still very lacking.

A: Let's just say that there aren't really any restaurants in Southside. (Mostly made by hobos.)

Q: Is there any purpose to megavitamins? So far their only purpose is extremely paltry XP gains for a sizeable Body cost. Seems more like a trap for newbies than anything else.

A: Most of the early food and drugs are not very good. So yeah, some of them are not particularly useful.

Q: How do Autodocs work exactly? Are they almost drones, since they can apparently do all the medical work themselves?

A: They are akin to drones, but without the same level of programming you'd see in eg. Midgard Drones. It's halfway between a PDA and a drone.

Q: How old do our characters look? I know that we can't pass for Metroplex U students.

A: I sort of leave that up to the players to decide, however you imagine it. The avatars kind of give an indication. 30'sish. Old to be students, and also unless you're trying specifically, you're not really trying to dress like a student. It's more an image thing for what they're talking about there. Depending on the situation, you can actually pass. People see what they expect to see.

Q: Why doesn't the MBR lab have turrets? I'd imagine the high security in that place would allow for it. Is it because Hound Drones go nuts towards slags-infected people and turrets don't, so they save the turrets for the places that need them?

A: For the most part, Midgard tries to not put turrets on buildings the public might see. I mean, they feel they have a pretty good reason for the slags gate, but the MBR is a bit more public.

Q: How do you get an assault rifle's frame out of a salvaged shotgun?! I understand how a sniper rifle's remains could be used as the basis for an assault rifle, but a shotgun?

A: I don't have any huge problem with that. I guess I could make a shotgun frame instead, but a lot of shotguns have some pretty complex internal workings. The streetsweeper is really an assault rifle that pretends to be a shotgun.

Q: I once spent a full week trying for a scavenging avatar. Anything of the sort, or should I look elsewhere?

A: I wouldn't be shocked if there was one, but I don't specifically remember putting one in.

Q: Are the Flickering guard's drops determined by anything, or truly random? I've gotten a huge string of the very same two drop results over and over again for eight fights. There's a less than 4% chance of that happening if it is truly random.

A: I'm not going to check right now, but it wouldn't entirely surprise me if there was some way that they are determined. But with a 4% chance, you will get strings like that, just randomly.

Q: I noticed that some people (Jess, chatting dockhands, Andrea, etc) we can't meet while Etheric. Is this them avoiding people who are obviously high, us not being able to notice them among all the serpents and funny colors and junk or is there some other explanation?

A: Those are just that you have other things on your mind.

Q: What do you think is the hardest-to-defeat opponent you have coded yet?

A: The twinned dragons were pretty bad. There's couple opponents that I've coded and I don't think anyone's fought yet, one is pretty vicious.

Q: Have you ever coded an opponent who you intended to be difficult, but ended up getting steamrolled? Thoughts on that?

A: I usually don't put a lot of effort into making opponents difficult or not, so much as making them appropriate. Fights are more about telling a story than matching up the exact difficulty.

Q: Having checked a list of opponents, I noticed all human opponents only use techniques which are available to us in some form or another, with three exceptions- "summon bats", used by the Third Eye Sorcerer and the Subway Dweller, "Blurry Quick Shot", used by the Third Eye Hunter and "Tongue Throttle", courtesy of the etheric Bum. Are these techs available to us somehow, either now or in future content, or do they break the trend of "human opponents use player available techs"?

A: I would not be surprised to run into the latter two as part of some content at some point. For the first and third, what people can do while Etheric depends on themselves to some extent (or entirely?).

Q: The Fae are described as the Eldest - but it seems like the Twisted Hounds might have been around before them. Are the Fae just the eldest of the Sight creations? What are the origins of the twisted hounds?

A: Yeah, that one you'll have to figure out on your own.

Q: Care to hint at how many different places drinking orange juice matters? (I think we've found four so far. Maybe.)

A: That sounds about right. I think probably 6 or 7? But there's one place that you haven't even found for it to matter yet. An interaction in some content you haven't discovered yet.

Q: Could we bind Flying Eyes?

A: I suppose that's not entirely unreasonable. Not sure why that's not in there now. I'd have to double check some facts about the helidrones.

Q: Any hints on what to do with all the painted items from the museum? Are they currently functional in game or are we still waiting on more content (the mysterious second floor of the art museum, for example)? Will we get to see the second floor any time soon?

A: They are currently functional. You do not have all of them. As far as the second floor, I know what's there (sculpture, 3D arts), but no rush on that.

Q: How would you feel about letting gang warfare players choose a short taunt or message to display when someone else attacks them? "You'll never take this area from the Hounds!" would allow for some cool roleplay.

A: My inclination is not to. It's really the sort of thing that begs for drama that Kinak would have to interfere with.

Q: How close were we to digging to the bottom of the pit? Every year, the Herald seems just slightly out of reach…

A: It wouldn't be fun if I let you win. I might actually still have the number on hand - you were around 80-90% there. Yeah, there was still a bit there. You just literally ran out of time. Two more tiers, and more stuff down there that wasn't digging related.

Q: The Awakened Student seems to be first opponent whose chains aren't just picked randomly and evenly. Is this a newly coded feature or should I have been more careful with spading chains in the past?

A: That is a feature which was not in the game originally but has been in for quite a while.

Q: Was this what holograms were always intended for? Could we have unlocked them a year ago if things had played out slightly differently? Will there be more sources for holograms from non-event sources?

A: Yeah, this is what they were intended for. Could have unlocked them a year ago. Might be more sources but no immediate plans for them.

Q: Burrowing Horror seems to be the very first technique that we can no longer obtain. Will we see mining drones again in Oldtown or some other source for them?

A: I think I pretty heavily foreshadowed what's going to happen with the drones there, just wanted to throw out a taste.

Q: Was the Snowman Avenger part of last year's undiscovered Christmas content?

A: Yes indeed.

Q: Is there more content with the mysterious ash? So far we have messages for Blood of the Ancients, BotA + Ardent Investigator, and BotA + Lotus Map.

A: Yeah, pretty sure there's still some more stuff in there. Some of it neat!

Q: Are we missing something big in the Fractured Reflection's cauldron?

A: I could not tell you what you're looking at there. I did add something new so that it didn't fail out there [rainbow smoke]. I'd have to look over your spading results in detail there.

Q: It's time for the now-traditional end-of-the-year unearthly item round-up! Woo! My overall sense is that we did pretty well with the spading this year. So, here's your chance to shatter our complacency by telling us just how much we missed. First up is the nostalgic toy catalog, with an interesting new mechanic of bonus power to techniques based on attribute rather than type. We found a bunch of items and some new techniques here. I feel like there isn't much left here to find.

A: Sound about right. If there's anything else, I've forgotten about it.

Q: Next is the grappler gauntlets. A while ago you mentioned "sneaky balancing" with this item, which I don't think we ever managed to discover. Any hints where to look?

A: I mean, the nature of its bonus allows it to grow as you continue on, which is what I was talking about there.

Q: There was a ton of neat content that we, uh, dug up with the scuffed mining helmet. How much did we miss?

A: There's still a couple of items that are missing there, maybe a technique. Or at least, last time I looked.

Q: The goblet of bones seems like it's mostly a utility item, very powerful under the right circumstances. My sense is that the goblet is well above half-full spading-wise.

A: That's probably true. Not sure how much of the mechanics you know, but seems right.

Q: The spading on the crystal spine seemed to go remarkably smoothly. We found a second tier form and figured out how to unlock it reliably without a lot of fuss. Also, we found a bunch of techniques. Did we just really go to town on this one, or did we miss something big?

A: I think mostly you just went to town on that one.

Q: At one coin, toad statue seems like mostly a utility item. I don't know that we've got a complete understanding of the exact mechanics of it, but did we find all the content?

A: Yeah.

Q: Finally, the holosight rifle. It definitely can give a dramatic power boost to Ranged combat, which might explain the two-coin cost. But, compared to a lot of other two-coin items, it seems a little light on content. Is there more to it? If so, hints on where to look? When the Holographic Gunman uses (what appears to be) the Holosighting technique, it does damage after the first use each fight. It doesn't seem to work that way when players use it. Is this a bug, or can we somehow learn to make it work for us like it does for him?

A: Seems like it should work that way. Hm. Go ahead and use that again and send in a bug report for me, and I'll make sure it's working correctly.

Q: I'm curious about why the Third Eye try to stir up the protest on The Quad. The bartender at The Happy Hour doesn't want them to, and I can't see any obvious motive for them to do it. I tried following the Protester Punk to see if I could get some more info, but if there are hidden options there I didn't find them. Is there some way currently in-game to find out more about what the Third Eye are up to, or will we have to wait for the plot to thicken with future content?

A: I don't think there's a ton there, no.

Q: We all completely whiffed on figuring out the cryptic hints from the Tattooed Man on Halloween. Did we just miss the boat (until next year?), or can we still follow up on what he said in the everyday Hall of Paintings?

A: There's a lot going on there. You can get about half way through what he's talking about there, and wait for the rest.

Q: Did a bunch of us get 95% of the way towards getting Art Appreciation when the Museum first opened and then get distracted by shiny objects, or did the skill go live more recently?

A: I honestly thought that someone had found it weeks before it actually was.

Q: What's with the gap of two skills before Art Appreciation? More museum-related skills? Andrea stuff? Not-currently-available Oldtown skills?

A: I think there two in there are related to a side-side-quest related to the ghost ship that isn't implemented.

Q: Will we ever see techniques that serve to heal us in combat? We already have a fortification for PvP which heals us at the start of combat.

A: Anything in combat that you have control over that bleeds over out of combat, that would be a disaster and create a very un-fun combat system. Might be some ways to make that work, but I wouldn't hold out for anything like that anytime soon.

Q: Is our character immortal? Immortal Heart's description seems to suggest we may be near immortal, or at least extremely difficult to completely destroy. Could our characters be killed Homunculus-style, ala Fullmetal Alchemist?

A: The question of how you could be completely destroyed ties into a lot of other questions about who you are.

Q: Why can't we slather reactive gel all over ourselves?

A: I could code that to just give some reactive defense for a while. I should probably recode that at some point, it never seems to work exactly they way I want it to. It can now work a lot more like it's described in the fiction where if you take one attack it remains for the rest.

Q: What exactly was the tissue sample Andrea took from us? The resulting item suggests it was purely blood, but just how much blood do you have to take for our character to become woozy? We can take bullets to the head no problem, but this sample seems to have crippled us, at least for a while.

A: I mean, it's a pretty light crippling. It's not -100% reflexes or anything. A lot of blood, various bit of other tissues.

Q: Can we create an evil clone of ourselves using the new stuff from the Andrea Quest? Could this be the story explanation for leaving PvP clones?

A: No, although that would be hilarious.

Q: The amount of spading I've done in The Charnel House vII is astronomical. Using almost every Stolen Artistry item, degenerative mists, cold syringes, a plethora of firey lake diving, fishing attempts, attempting to gather blood from the Black Stone Statue and Flamey Skull using jagged wounds, etc, etc. 2+ months of effort which I am struggling to list with brevity here. So my question is, the hidden content in The Charnel House vII, should I relook at one of the things I've tried or…? What dark corner could the goodies possibly be hiding?

A: I think I'm blanking on something. The one that I'm remembering is in a particularly deep dark corner, such that I am leery to give hints since any hint would lead people on a while goose chase. There is something that will make sense in retrospect but not foresight.

Q: The Frozen Heart. I've tried using frost breath, fire, melee, and etheric techs. I tried using the Blitz Poppers and strange watch for their heart related affects. Uncovered nothing. Is there really nothing more to the frozen heart or is it just really sneaky?

A: I don't immediately recall adding anything crazy to that, to be honest. It is possible though.

Q: Anything more to the raw heart to be found? I've tried eating it right after dying from degenerate mists, with wide open, and even with the Dark Bloom effect seeing as how the Etheric Seed skill references a lot about primal memories and such. My efforts have turned up nothing.

A: Raw hearts are delicious.

Q: At what point in the game will we have the opportunity to fight atop a train?

A: That would probably not fall under vehicular combat, though expect that after oldtown. I'd expect maybe an addition to the ghost train at some point.

Q: So me and Al have been spading Hoop Jump. It doesn't seem to either reduce the damage evaded by evasion techs, and it doesn't seem to reduce the enemies actual defense such as the fire defense of a lake serpent. So my question is, will the specialness of Hoop Jump be something obvious or will it be something subtle where I have to pay careful attention to the numbers I'm getting?

A: It depends on the situation. It wouldn't necessarily jump out just reading the text.

Q: Will the Hoop Jump specialness be something that can always be taken advantage of? Or will there be cases where it simply can't be used against certain enemies? Like if the enemies not using either ranged or melee attacks negates its specialness?

A: You are finding those while blocking, so if you're not blocking the attack, I wouldn't expect to find it.

Q: Both Mercy Killer and Undead Scourge interact in some way with Silver Bullets and Conservative Fire. Mercy Killer also has Parry and the neat interaction with the silvered shield also counting as a silver weapon and as a result improving Shield Block. Is there something more that we are missing with Undead Scourge?

A: I don't think so? Mercy Killer is the one that has a broader application, but you might be missing some of each though.

Q: Seeing how Silver Flow grants bonus XP when a silver weapon is equipped are there any neat little things kicking around on Obvious Presence or other red lensed goggles effects? Would you be willing to ramble cryptically about the remaining mystery of the red lensed goggles?

A: The remaining mystery requires a combination of two components or factors. It does provide some feedback on both those factors, but it's very subtle. You might blunder into it at some point.

Q: So, most of my hologram questions were asked already, but I would like to know why you decided to make creating more holograms so resource intensive.

A: The fact that you could create more is sort of a bonus. They are essentially still limited content so the method of creating more had to be in line with that. Made them still difficult to acquire.

Q: Did we have an impact on Janet's blowing up the pit? It seemed like most people were fighting her for her drops, I was surprised she blew up the place so fast (I was hoping to stop her completely).

A: There were a number of different factors there. People helping/hurting her played into a larger equation. But you were on a very strict time-table at that point, and time ran out.

Q: Is there a use for her explosive thermos other then returning it to her (which is now impossible)?

A: Other than it being salvageable or gang stash or an interesting memento.

Podcast #30

News: Puyo's in town! Either living in Kinak's apartment or down the street. Custom avatars soon, and another new one added recently.

Q: If it's not too personal, please do share depressing personal details. We're concerned about our beloved dev member. :)

A: […listen for details…]

Q: Why can we eat partially digested fish, raw human, and contaminated shark and clam meat, but not normal fish? I'd imagine the first three are way more dangerous than the latter.

A: I like putting stuff on the misc page to reduce clutter, but you're probably right that they could be edible. I could flag as edible but don't really want to clutter inventory with terrible food. I'll give it some thought.

Q: In-universe, why can't we intentionally burn crates of eclipse to get free Etheric?

A: You wouldn't really get it for free body (probably worse than just taking pills). Just that in that situation, I don't feel that it's a great place in the game to use up body, so that's more the in-universe problem.

Q: Also, again in-universe what's keeping us from just copy-pasting data and programs?

A: DRM actually works in the future. There's sort of an abstraction that occurs there. The kind of programming you're doing as crafting is sort of like how [Kinak's wife is programming more now] you're taking pieces of code and combining them to make something cool. So there's certain code bits that you're copy and pasting. So you're the one type of code could actually represent hundreds or millions of types of code or functions. It's sort of like how you don't really worry about how a slice of pie is a granny smith pie or macintosh apple pie. Similarly in the coding section, you'll probably only need each chunk of code once. If coding worked the way it does in real life, the bottle neck might be the crafting. It's not really that much weirder than the level of abstraction with the other crafting types or equipment. It's a Hollywoodised version of hacking in game because real hacking is pretty boring.

Q: What would happen if we eliminated the Viral Network from the Net? Would there be some sort of reward?

A: Other than the virus stuff not bugging you on the net. Obviously the virus hasn't copied itself over to the Novos stuff yet. So the corporations might beat you to it.

Q: Why can't we grind Eclipse residue in the puzzle box?

A: Probably because it would have to do something specific and cool. I'm kind of leery to add any more content to the puzzle box because it already has so much.

Q: Why does gutting a TZR make it a better weapon? I could be wrong, but I'd think shorting out most electronics would turn them into bricks.

A: For the TZR self defense functionality, it's kind of subservient (deprioritized) from its processing capabilities, so you're reprogramming it effectively.

Q: How was Lo planning to rescue David? Sciency techs?

A: He didn't really have a very good plan. Lo's a very smart man in a lot of ways but asking him to be an action hero is not really a great idea. Kind of like batman minus the training and badassery.

Q: "Shocking organ"- innuendo accidental or not?

A: Pretty much accidental. There's probably a technical term for the organ that makes electric eels electric, but yeah. Bio-electric organ might have been better.

Q: Why is there faux wood and why are trees implied to be rare if paper is everywhere? Is said paper not made from trees?

A: You can make paper from all sorts of stuff. Just that we have a lot of trees so that what we currently use. Hemp, sawgrass, etc.

Q: If you could make any one unearthly item completely real and own it in real life, what would it be?

A: VR helmet is tempting. Also cloak of feathers. The tricky part is that a lot of them require Eclipse. The designer vines would be pretty sweet too if I could get enough of them to do all the things that they do. I guess I could buy designer jeans. Probably cloak of feathers overall. +choice encounter chance is something that would give you interesting times.

Q: After Novos is fully implemented, should I be concerned about Oldtown suddenly creeping up on us or is there something else in the pipeline?

A: One of the reasons I was doing Novos now is that there was certain things that require hacking (eg. Dr. A stuff) that would require re-doing, so I'm rebuilding Novos to handle things a bit better. Less hardcoded or at least better hardcoded. I like to take a break with some little things right after a big project, but I guess I'm kind of doing Novos as little things. So I guess don't expect Novos to appear the week after or anything. I would expect some smaller stuff here and there before Oldtown.

Q: I have probably asked this before, but it's worth asking again every so often: are there any undiscovered crafting recipes where there's no special conditional and we know about the components, but that we've just overlooked somehow?

A: I'll feel really mean if I say yes to this. There are some recipes that aren't discovered and don't require anything special but for the sake of your own sanity, don't go through and retest everything. There might be one or two but probably not worth it. There are a number which have to be approached sideways and a number that have conditionals.

Q: From what you've said so far, there's now only one conduct still out there waiting to be discovered. Is it the one you made no promises anybody would ever get, or was that the Stronger than Steel conduct?

A: That was Stronger than Steel.

Q: Have you added any more conducts since the one you tweeted about when the scuffed mining helmet rolled?

A: I don't believe so? I normally try to say when I add one because most of the time when I add one it's tracking something new so it could be something someone already tried.

Q: Any hints about the one(s) we have yet to find?

A: I'm pretty sure it's something you already know is being tracked, so go with that.

Q: IIRC, your original plan was to retcon oldos hacking stuff into Novos equivalents. So far all the Novos-related programs have been novnew. I imagine in a lot of ways it's easier to start from scratch rather than trying to retrofit old content onto the new system. Have your plans about how to deal with legacy hacking content changed? What are they right now?

A: I did actually realize that I had to rework that. The problem is that the old hacking content is very flat in so far as it's off in its own little world. You get better at hacking by getting better at hacking. But it causes issues with integrating it into the (main) questline. I'd like to see it more like you get better at hacking in much the same way you get better at normal combat through the main quest line. Better materials, drops, etc. So that sort of had to loop back around. So I couldn't cram all this hacking stuff into the first tier of Novos.

Q: What will happen to hacking-related stuff like the Lotus Map skill when Novos is fully implemented?

A: I would really really really like all the skills to still be available for leaderboard reasons. I wouldn't necessarily expect them to be accessed the same way. As far as the old items, some of them might become antiques.

Q: Will Code Finesse have a place in Novos?

A: It already does.

Q: Can you tell us more about upcoming Novos hacking mechanics?

A: Hm, I don't think I rolled (something) out? The basic stuff is in there. Obviously it will loop back in and do more stuff. As far as upcoming stuff, there's a lot of space to expand there as far as what the functions do and how they interact. Oldos only really worked as an endcap thing (eg. raiding).

Q: Is there more Novos stuff we can find right now, or are the tantalizing gaps in the Items by ID related to upcoming content?

A: I don't think you found everything, but I am dolloping things out in pretty small bits. There's the unfortunate thing is that the more content there is the more it will get spaded. People will spade to a certain depth whether it's a large or small chunk so small chunks get better explored.

Q: How come Mikhail doesn't demand his money back if we start supplying bums with Eclipse as part of the Dr. Thomas quest? Is he afraid of us? Is our distribution network small and inefficient enough compared to what the Fangs had that out actions aren't as noticeable?

A: There's two halves to that. You would notice if they got as bad as they were (the area would change). It's a relatively small amount of Eclipse and Mikhail doesn't necessarily know it's you and even if he did he may not necessarily confront you.

Q: Special replacement question: In the past you have been dead-set against the idea of a technique that heals you, but Take Root seems to do that. What made you change your mind?

A: It's not that I'm deadset against techniques that heal you, it's that the way that people request it is normally a huge problem. The way that take root works isn't appreciably different than the way that First Aid works (admittedly First Aid has some problems - it should probably be split into two modifiers, one that does rest healing and one that does combat healing, and put the rest healing on something other than items so people don't have to change equipment to rest). Most people request a technique that heals you directly instead of damage, which means that you are going to be rewarded for dragging out combat. Whereas Take Root (which may be a problem being too good) doesn't work that way. A lot of game design is figuring out that the optimal way to play is also a fun way. (Hacking failed that test a lot.) It's one of the hardest things about game design.

Q: A few questions about the proper names for things: What do you call the bonus that reduces evasion (from Binding Words or the crocodile's Roll in Sewage attack?)

A: "Restrain"

Q: In Novos hacking, is "Attack" or "Offense" the preferred nomenclature?

A: Whichever one displays in the description pane.

Q: SMD? Slags Memorial Dorms? South Metroplex Digs? Super Mysterious Dwelling?

A: You know, that should be public knowledge in world but I do not recall where. S___ Memorial Dorm? Probably Student Memorial Dorm but it might just be a last name.

Q: So new hacking - how'd you come up with the dice-rolling mechanics? Did you test it out by rolling real dice first or just instinctively feel it was right?

A: It's a little bit inspired by Elder Sign Omens (iPhone) by Fantasy Flight, gone up a couple levels in complexity from there. I did some simulation first but not a ton. I've been playing table top roleplaying for way too long so have a pretty good feel for dice probabilities. The difference in having two or three faces that are the same thing is staggering. In programs in the future, you might see highly special specialized programs. Probably won't see 6 sides cause then you're not rolling dice.

Q: Where will a Net revamp fall on the timeline of new hacking content?

A: As far as the plot, they're doing research stuff first (university), then major corps (questline stuff), then start to get used by smaller companies. I'd expect the quest stuff first and for that to be fully integrated and then things like the actual Net side content be the last thing. I'm really excited about what I can do with the tools for Novos there. I like how the old systems fell into patterns with how it was generated, but I can make a lot more different interesting sites from a similar seed.

Q: Glimmering and Nightmarish Paint Sets. Is there something mysterious going on here or is it just a really-expensive really-short-term buff?

A: Heh, it does seem like a whole lot of effort for a 1 turn buff. Admittedly some people have found some interesting uses for a 1 turn buff.

Q: Yay to Puyo moving out! Does this mean that custom avatars might be offered in the near future? Will she join you on a podcast some day?

A: Yes and yes. I'd like to either have her on occasionally where we both answer questions or have a Puyo's Corner segment or something.

Q: Andrea's research - I've done all the experimentation I can think of, and asked every Midgard employee I can find about my regeneration. Any hints on where to proceed?

A: Some of their non-responsiveness about regeneration is me leaving off options that result in unplayable game states. So you obviously have a hard time dying. But if Midgard were to find out and catch you, things which are way worse than dying would happen. As far as Midgard's research you have access to most of what the people you've run into know. Very compartmentalized information, often to their own weakness. If you were to ask Boris about it, he would not know what's going on or if he started testing you, very bad things.

Q: The holosight rifle is powerful and very cool; but mechanically it seems like there's somewhat less going on there than other two-coin items. Are we missing any chunks of content there?

A: It's entirely possible? It's not super involved like the puzzle box or cloak of feathers. It does some pretty cool stuff though. I'd guess there's one or two things left.

Q: How about a one-word hint about some hidden thing that's totally off everyone's spading radar?

A: There's one left, I think. Or at least there were two things undiscovered for a long time, and then the tracer eye was found.

Q: Any one word hint about something that's off everyone's spading radar.

A: I'm really tempted to say CASCADE but I'd be a jerk and I've already said that. So instead MANUALLY.

Q: I'd like to say that I'm really impressed by the special items from Stolen Artistry. The black rose's evolution, the improbable gun's interaction with funky ammunition, the jade amulet's hunter schtick. The ghoulish crown, however, seems rather sparse on its specialness only affecting Monarch's Call in a few specific places. Is there anything left hiding in this item?

A: I think that it has another couple interactions, they're pretty obscure corner cases.

Q: I have a question about the super hidden thing in the second iteration of the Charnel House. How much content will be unleashed from uncovering this secret? What hides behind the vault which this secret is the key? Cause if it is just something minor maybe I'll knock it off my priority list.

A: On the order of half a dozen items, some techniques, at least one enemy, maybe some more stuff.

Q: The specialness of chain weapons is rather highlighted in this game. Yet the only technique to sorta be gained from chains is the binding words technique. Is there any more to be found about the chains?

A: As far as techniques go, I think that's the only one. But there are a few more interactions here and there.

Q: Do you think Valmo will be the one to finally figure out how to fish in a lake of fire?

A: Try try and try again. I'm sure that someday we'll do the impossible.

Q: Can the chatbox be changed so that entering a URL creates a link?

A: Yes it could, but I'd have to think about whether I want that.

Q: Any plans to update the chatbox or make it more responsive in the future?

A: I would like to rewrite it entirely, but that seems like a poor use of my time at this point.

Q: Are you aware that an OS called "Novos" actually exists? It is also worth noting that a small plastic injection mold company is already named Midgard. Turns out OmniTech is real too. Are we witnessing the humble beginnings of these large corporations? Are the Orbital Wars imminent?!

A: Not too worried. :)

Q: Care to offer any new hints regarding the unlock condition(s) for the Mad Scientist Avatar? Why is it (apparently) so hard to get compared to other avatars?

A: Well, there's one avatar that no one has found, so it's not really that hard in a sense. There's a random component to most avatars, or at least randomness with a tail chopped off. [economics tails] Don't really think they need to be balanced.

Q: So my new path through the southside quest was intentional, but seems to be a lot of effort to lock oneself out of some really useful skills. Just a cool hidden option, or should I take a closer look?

A: Mostly just a cool hidden option.

Q: In a broader sense, I know that you want to make gang warfare an important component of this game, so are there other interesting ways that it might interact with quests, unlocking new paths or content? If so, any hints on where to look?

A: There's actually a whole bunch of gang warfare stuff that no one has discovered. Mostly related to items.

Q: Could we pleeeaase add the personal serum to warring samples to fight our own evil clones? (I assume this would require us to be in pvp for chain reasons)

A: Good idea though it would require some fancy coding because of how pvp is locked into the code. Kinak actually fights clones of himself all the time in his own personal pvp arena.

Q: Is it possible to get into southside lab before Hel's quest? The guards are picking up bums since the beginning of the game, so I see no reason our disguise to get picked up shouldn't work accidentally.

A: The way I'd probably handle that is just as a fight. If you're disguised but not willing to go along peacefully, that should probably in theory work.

Q: Do you expect us to get all of the current museum content (or at least what we can of the stuff thats been hinted at) before the next phase of whatever is going on there? If we don't will it affect future events? Cause I've tried everything I can think of so far.

A: It is basically self contained, so shouldn't break anything going forward. There are two more areas of the museum to go in at some point (second floor and storage basement). There's actually some unrelated stuff that you'll want to figure out the museum content for.

Q: Are there any more hidden techniques in the various cybernetics? I feel like Boris's Claw should let us learn some of his claw attacks.

A: Yeah, probably should. I almost want to say that I just didn't have the right art for that. But there's not currently a Boris claw technique. It's kind of weird getting the claw currently though, maybe when Oldtown goes in.

Q: Is there anything interesting to be done with Fae Plushes aside from tearing them up?

A: I don't think so?

Q: You recently mentioned in a bug report that the trigger for the crystal chip when fishing in the Sewers had changed. Was it an isolated change or is there a little more on the go?

A: That was strictly speaking a bug report, just the chip itself.

Q: Seeing how hidden effects are in play with fishing are they isolated to things like line & lures or could a few strays be lurking on equipment like rods and such?

A: There is at least one hidden effect on a fishing rod. I think just the one. And there is some other side stuff.

Q: Next up is the extreme tackle box which still has me stymied. What I do know or at least think I know is it produces more lures when you have a line or lure effect active. Although best results were with both a line and lure active. What I'm wondering is if the lures are given at a fixed rate or is it a little random?

A: There is some randomness both in number and type.

Q: Along the same lines is cheater's line depending on one thing happening or does it rely on several things happening?

A: That has a fairly complex conditional. If you're consistently not getting it, try doing something different?

Q: Lastly is there anything else about fishing you feel like talking about?

A: It's awesome. One of the more complex subsystems but you seem to be doing a good job working on it.

Q: Is there a cap to the energy of a smiling effect that can be received from the toad statue? And on that note, thanks for saving our progress on that across resets.

A: I have been trying to make things a little more reset-friendly. Some stuff doesn't make sense, but as far as things that take a lot of set up would be preferred to stick with people. I'm trying to remember if there's a… hm. There's a very complex set of code here. I'm not seeing an explicit cap but you will see some trends.

Q: Have we done more than just scratch the surface of the dancing hut figure? It may be a one coin item, but it seems like we haven't figured out much yet.

A: There's a fair bit going on with the dancing hut figure. I mean, it is as you said a 1 coin thing. Some techniques and things.

Q: What would you say has been your favorite event so far in Metroplexity?

A: Probably the recent Halloween/dorm collapse.

Q: What's your favorite Lovecraftian creature?

A: The Nightgaunt? It has an interesting place in the mythos. […Lovecraft…]

Q: I'm strangely fascinated with the Blown Glass Trinket. In one of the first podcasts you answered my question about it by saying that there wasn't anything special about it. Could that change? It doesn't need to be much, but I really like that item for some reason.

A: I could probably dream up something cool about it.

Q: How's Oldtown going? (You can use any VagueMan powers you like :)

A: I've got a high level design for that down, and some of the top level programming (it actually exists). There's a lot of stuff I'd like to do in there that involves hacking so that's first.

Q: Can you give any hints about getting more content out of the whole Cracked Spore business, if there is any to find.

A: It's been long enough I'm not really sure what you've found with it yet. There's really two main chunks for it, one of which you probably found immediately. If there aren't two uses for it on the wiki, you've missed something.

Q: Random background information question: Is global warming/climate change still a thing? Have there been issues with the changing environment? Are there corps who care? Do any of the corps do anything to help the environment?

A: Yes, sort of systemic climate change. One of the reasons there's a background of shortages. Sort of some corps that care. See Refined Petrol description. Advances in (micro)capacitors. There are some greener corps in second/third tiers. [(eg. Zaibatsu/Omnitech = 1st, Midgard = 2nd, HKGames = 3rd tier). Compare to McDonalds vs. Subway vs. smaller chains. Walmart vs. Target/Costco vs. K-mart.] Debate about how many are legitimately concerned and how many are just using as marketing. Yes, definitely some environmental help (eg. Midgard cleaning up the Slags.) Short answer: yes, climate change has happened. Largely unrelated to orbital wars but part of the state destabilization.

The future: expect more Novos stuff soon, some small updates. At some point, I'd like to revamp the buried lab. The future is looking brighter.

Podcast #31

Q: I'm curious if there is anything left to hunt with the red-lensed googles or will I need to find another obsession.

A: I want to say you're good on the goggles unless there's a technique you haven't found yet. Let me double check that exists, came out a while ago. Looks like there is actually still one technique out there. […] This is the exciting sound of me making sure that I'm not lying to you all. So there is still one thing. [And then edited in: I'm a jerk that checks things about the red lensed goggles and is still totally wrong. The mystery technique is associated with another old unearthly item instead.]

Q: Recently I stumbled upon the Project techniques related to the solid holograms. Where the basic holograms are consumed on a loss and presently available through a resource intensive duplication it makes the supply rather finite. I'm wondering if we will have another window of opportunity to obtain holograms?

A: It's certainly possible. They're depending on the choices made each halloween. It would not totally shock me to see those come back from halloween or some other event, but could go either way.

Q: The extra attack die in Novos from Powercode has an interesting way of working. Will we see more like it as the system is fleshed out or was it intended as a sort of one-off?

A: I would be surprised if you didn't see more like that as we go on. There's a lot of design space with Novos, which I appreciate, compared to Oldos. Too easy to figure out optimization with Oldos which make the interesting design space quite small.

Q: An item that recently caught my eye is the holosight rifle. In a prior podcast you indicated you guess there are one or two things left. Is Project Shooter one of those things or is that more a part of the solid hologram? Any hint as to what remains?

A: I was probably counting Project Shooter in there since it is tied into the rifle. There's a lot of donation items that technically the stuff tied to them is tied to items that they give you access to, most of which can be traded.

Q: If there's anything you'd like to talk about that wasn't asked above feel free to do so here. Any pearls of wisdom or anecdotes are more than welcome.

A: Yesterday (and the day before) was the real-life Metroplex Day. Nice fireworks in Columbus. Jotted some stuff down for Metroplex Day. [fireworks, parades, local food markets and such]

Q: First off, how are things going? :)

A: Pretty good, actually. Lots of little things taking up time, holidays, went camping for a bit, semi-climax of my pathfinder game, things like that. Running my first pre-prepared campaign ever in twenty years of GMing. You play though Metroplexity and it has a very distinctive flavour- it has the cyberpunk stuff, but it also has this mystery-pseudo-lovecraftian-wheels-within-wheels stuff going on, and that's just all of my campaigns. Running Rise of the Runelords. (Can't recommend it enough.) [role playing, gencon, true dungeon and such]

Q: So cool new grenade/rocket content out of the blue. Foreshadowing things to come or a one-time content drop? What inspired it? (I love these little updates like this.)

A: A bit of column A, column B. It sort of integrates with some Novos stuff I'm working on. Mostly, I was just thinking about explosives and it didn't quite line up internally the way it should and makes a lot more sense now. I try to do little content drops like that every so often (in a perfect world, some new content once a week).

Q: The new grenades and rockets don't seem to interact with Engineer Explosives. Should they?

A: Probably. Yeah let me actually put that on my list. I've started using wonderlist for a lot of stuff. In addition to Metroplex and Twilight Heroes I've been taking over more of the household duties so wonderlist is nice for iphone. Will do that when done with podcast.

Q: Novos questions!

Any hints at what Novos stuff will come out next?

A: So, the next big content drop for Novos is… Well, one of the things that's going to be quite different between Novos and the old system is that the old system is very location independent. In that you get into the net and then the net is very undifferentiated. Not that that's a problem platonically, but I don't think that it works very well inside the context of the game. There'll be a lot more location-driven (you'll see once it rolls). Next major chunk is the university-related stuff (sites). That'll work not completely dissimilarly from how Oldos works now but there will be that and then there will be one last drop that will sort of more tied with the slags and will bring in a lot more of the commercial aspects from shipping and stuff like that. And that will end up giving a lot more of the old net rewards. And then another block of net for Oldtown. One of the bright sides is that there will be a lot more net content this way, there wasn't really a good way to graduate those through the main questline. One of the major inspirations for the net is hacking in the sega-genesis Shadow Run. I tried playing through it a bunch of times but kept getting caught up in the best hacking content. Now that I think about this a bit more, maybe I should have seen some of this coming, in that it was very disassociated from the rest of the game. What I'd really like to have happen with Novos is that I'd like to see the Net stuff be part of the main quest line not that it's mandatory but that it goes out of the main quest line and feeds back into the main quest line. Hopefully we're going okay, we'll see how that goes.

  • Net revamp? Yes, as detailed above.
  • More quests from nameless coffee machine guy? He really should have a name, maybe a contest or something. Yes, he'll get some more with this drop.
  • Midgard Player? Planning on putting some more on the next time it comes up in rotation, but might just do it now. Don't expect it immediately.
  • Something else completely? Oh yes.
  • What's this "corp-sponsored training" going to involve? You'll see that to a large extent with this content drop. Corps (Midgard especially) want people trained on Novos right away here.

Q: Will a hacker-type avatar be available with the Novos revamp?

A: There are some sweet avatars coming up. I'm not going to promise anything specific but there are some stuff you're going to look at and say that's totally hackery.

Q: Art questions! Are there any interactions between Stolen Artistry, Artist's Perspective, the Children's Paint Set, and Art Appreciation/Hall of Paintings? Any hints as to where I should poke around in the museum?

A: There is, as with many things, something that I thought would be obvious but something that didn't turn out to be obvious. There is an incomplete cycle with you should be very interested in completing in the museum. And of course some paint stuff that isn't figured out yet, but that's from when the paint stuff came out and not related to newer stuff.

Q: The guy in the art museum is "humming a strange melody you feel like you should recognize." Red herring or something to be found there?

A: I don't honestly recall. [50:00] More of just an internal reference for something than the code is going to throw something at you.

Q: Are we missing many abstract sketch messages? We have 16 recorded so far.

A: Looks like you have almost all of them.

Q: The mutated bum seems to only make your adventures in the buried lab harder - no new drops or techniques from him. Does he have something hidden or just a penalty for opening doors you shouldn't?

A: Generally a bad idea to open doors with crazy Eclipse people behind him. I want to say there's nothing too crazy going on with him. At some point I'd like to back into the buried lab and renovate the place and make the paths through it more interesting.

Q: Are there many places in the game where it is advantageous to leave an equipment slot empty on purpose? I only know a couple - the Vine Shirt effect, and the metal beams giving Melee defense. Any hints at more?

A: There are certainly a lot of places where you'll want have or not have certain equipment but I'm not coming up with any no-pants-dance party or any area of investigation.

Q: Are there any food/drugs that benefit from Muffled Sight (comparable with the other Sights?)

A: No it's not really the same… thing. Obviously there are some similarities but not the same cycle.

Q: Will fundraising be a recurring part of Halloween (for the purposes of credit-sink or tradition?)

A: It would not surprise me to keep seeing that. I try to make things a bit different every halloween but yeah probably.

Q: Could you institute a way for leaders/lieutenants to check how many gang members are active that doesn't involve sending out a message? (Or inform me if such a way exists :P)

A: Could click through to see their last logged in date.

Q: Is there anything you can do with the injectors (from the Lost Son quest) besides grant yourself skills?

A: They're mostly there to grant skills.

Q: It's unclear whether the Happy Hour dance tunes (& holiday concert tunes) represent listening to a song (they are exclusive with other Music effects) or the memory/"earworm" of a song (like Ocean Song, the effect remains after you leave the source of the music). Which is it and is a tweak in order?

A: That is actually a pretty good question. It would probably be good to distinguish those. Where Holiday Music would give something like Holiday Cheer than an actual music effect. Mechanically they should work a bit differently, will give it some thought. There are definitely some songs that you are not actually playing that could be replaced and overwritten. If you are listening to something you probably shouldn't get those buffs, if you have an earworm, should probably be replaced with the new one, and that logic is codable but might be a bit annoying.

Q: Have you ever thought of fleshing out the Metro ride with various short descriptions similar to resting messages, or would you rather keep that aspect purely functional?

A: I don't see any, well, hm. Probably the biggest thing I've thought about doing with the Metros system is putting a map there. It might be worth, at the very least, having an intro message like I've been adding to new zones (eg. the happy hour has a splash screen so to speak).

Q: Will there ever be non-Metro ways of traveling the city, or would that interfere with the Twilight Heroes carefully sidestepping us groundbound sorcerers?

A: There will be vehicles at some point, that's a ways in the future. I'm not entirely sure how useful they would be inside the city. I feel like most people travel a distressingly small amount and that's mostly with Metros. It's possible that once vehicles go in, they'll give a map option, as an overview map of the city.

Q: What's the best fruit to put in pancakes?

A: Y'know, up until recently, I'd probably go with raspberries. [fruit talk…] Bananas actually.

Q: Most of the time when an item has an effect that's not listed, it's because the effect has terribly complicated trigger(s) that would not fit snugly into the tiny effects box. The porous crystal, however, seems to be a straight +5 Eclipse Duration item. Is there something else going on with this item?

A: Other than it exploding when you use it, not particularly. Though it would be fun to have it do something else too. The way that it works, I feel it's weird enough that it's not the same as other Eclipse Duration items.

Q: When new players come to the game, the have enough energy to bumble around Southside, then the Waterfront, before finally not understanding what is going on in the Sewers. Most people are used to explicit, visual indicators that they are progressing which the sewers section doesn't really provide. I suspect it turns a lot of people off. Would you consider maybe giving people on Day 1 more energy/hunger/body so they could get through that part of the questline or maybe even reworking it?

A: Honestly I'd probably be more likely to give them less than more. (not something I plan to do either). But…as far as reworking it. I'm not super concerned about lack of visual indicators. The game's pretty sparse on those in general so I think if people are going to not like it, that's just the way that's going to be. As far as the sewers, I don't expect to revisit that again.

Q: Some people had Thermos Charges in their inventory when Janet made the crater go ka-BOOM! Why didn't those explode as well?

A: I believe they need to be armed first, unless the ones in inventory were armed in which case an oversight on my part. I guess it doesn't explicitly say one way or another.

Q: Valmo finding the super hidden thing in the red-lensed goggles gives me hope for the Charnel House! I wonder though, does the key to unlocking the hidden potential of the Charnel House start somewhere outside the Charnel House? Like how expanding the sewer tunnels needed you to first watch Killers 3 then kill the Quad Psycho.

A: There is some non-charnel house stuff (actually a fairly significant amount) to get the really terrifyingly complicated thing.

Q: You've mentioned wanting to rejigger how reactive defense works. At the moment, it seems that reactive defense works by disallowing players from blitzing through bosses with insane buffs while still allowing them to do some damage. How did you hope reactive defense would function?

A: That has nothing to do with what I wanted to change. The thing with reactive defense isn't so much PvE so much as PvP stuff. Mechanically it works find but narratively I'm not sure how well it works in PvP should be separated and reworked. Not a high priority in any case.

Q: The coffee guy's power level seems to be really rising since Novos. I wonder, how does his power level compare to the Slimy Guy in the VIP Room's power level?

A: The coffee guy's doing okay. I feel he's getting more content and focus than he is getting more power. If they got in a fight though I'd bet on Arthur every time. Coffee guy is moving from geeky kid to… [school rambling]. If you're talking about popularity on campus, he might get more popular than Arthur as Arthur's kind of a recluse as far as campus goes but has connections elsewhere.

Q: Are we missing something with the Bone Mask, or is it just lighter on content compared to the other (more difficult) Ship of the Damned rewards?

A: Yeah, some of those aren't particularly content deep either, but there's some stuff about the bone mask that won't become apparent until later.

Q: Will Channel Inspiration ruin a combat conduct? If so, could this be changed?

A: The answer to the general question, "will this be changed if it ruins a conduct" is normally no just cause conducts are not there to be easy or balanced at all. Yeah, I'm pretty much fine with how that works with conducts. The only thing that really makes me think that I need to fix something is if eg. a fight is required that would break some conducts I'd fix that. Eg. if you have to take drugs at some juncture, I'd fix that. If one of the conducts is stupid-hard, then it's a symbol of doing something stupid-hard.

Q: Why doesn't eating the Phoenix in the Hall of Paintings with Ghoultouched give us a severe case of heartburn?

A: That is a fine question. There's a couple of things that are pretty fiery. Yeah it doesn't seem to care if things are Made Out Of Fire or not. There should probably be an interaction there. (Noted)

Q: Can we have a separate category in the Data area for pre-Novos code? It seems really cluttered.

A: Meh. Meeeeehhhhhh. I really do not know what I want to do with that stuff. A lot of it is going to end up not being very useful but I know a lot of people are not going to want to get rid of it. The complete jerk in me makes me feel like I should make it as inconvenient as possible for to keep so they'll get rid of it be the realist in me knows that it'll just be annoying. It might get cordoned off at some point once things are settled.

Q: Does Officer Stone have regenerative abilities or is he just really persistent?

A: Well, he does actually die at the end of the exchange. But yeah, he is basically just super persistent.

Q: Just how much Oldos content will stay relevant after Novos is fully out? Is it foolish to keep scanning for data, misdirecting and rerouting right now?

A: Well, there is Oldos content which you'll get in new ways, and other stuff which will just clutter inventory forever. So… yeah. If you want to have stuff for the sake of having stuff, there's still stuff you can do. If there's stuff you want to have to be useful, that stuff will be available in new ways or just be replaced. There might come a day when I go through and change Oldos stuff to Novos. Personally, if I were going into Oldos stuff, it would be to fulfill some kind of collecting urge (which isn't really something that I do). For example there's skills that you can get out it that I'm not going to cut off because that would do terrible things to the leaderboards. I would not expect old programs to remain relevant. If there's anything that's already to Novos or the outside game, that might be worth grabbing. If anything needs to be changed to be relevant to Novos, probably not.

Q: Any plans for more proactive NPCs? Mikhail sends me that one message in the beginning, and the Vigilante mails his chip, but other than that I can't think of much that NPCs do to interact with me (outside when I am talking to them).

A: I do like that mechanic and it will almost assuredly show up again in the future. But for the most part, NPCs… It's a question of timed things of timed non-immediate response. Probably more likely as you're talking about people with a vast array of contacts. A lot of the people that you've been doing quests for are not great positions for knowing what you're doing so so them approaching you in relation to those things. Would be nice though if I come up with ways to include those.

Up next: Next chunk of Novos, then another unearthly item which is pretty slick, and then the last Novos chunk, and some other little stuff sprinkled in so that it's not all Novos Novos Novos. Thanks and have a good one!

Podcast #32

Q: How was GenCon? See any upcoming stuff that looked interesting? Might as well get this one out of the way first. :)

A: [GenCon was great. New Shadowrun, Pathfinder, Paizo vs Wizards etc. til 37:55]

Q: Does the writing on the tome of binding in my custom avatar mean anything? It looks like it might say 1921, and I'm curious where that came from.

A: I would hazard a guess that if it says anything it says something in Japanese. I'd have to ask Puyo about that.

Q: Might it be possible that we can get some mellowcreme pumpkins for Halloween? The king of Halloween candy. Evil and/or etheric versions are also acceptable.

A: Seems only reasonable. This is the sound of me creating a note for stuff to work on for Halloween.

Q: Have you considered anything like KoL's clan dungeons or Twilight Heroes' league battlefields for Metroplexity gangs? I'm not sure what form it would take, but I'm curious if you've had any thoughts.

A: You can see sort of the early version of those thoughts in the abandoned subway. That comes from… There's several Korean MMOs where area control unlocks special dungeons. There's a lot of expansion I'd like to do on that but there's a lot of expansion I'd like to do on a lot of things. I would also not be surprised to see something more like semi-PvE stuff tied into the game mechanics. Eg. a battlefield against NPC gangs or Midgard or whomever. There's nothing immediate in the works for that, gangs are mostly intended as a vessel for a PvP but the mechanics are there for cool gang PvE stuff.

Q: I've been trolling through old podcast threads to see how some of your cryptic hints panned out. A long time ago you said there were "seven new skills" in the second Charnel House/Black Book. We have found seven (well, eight if you count Firetamer), but one of those is Pyro, which wasn't "new" even when that quest rolled. Is there still an unfound skill in there somewhere?

A: Yes, there is exactly one unfound in there, and probably one unfound one tied into the original ghoul quest, probably not next to the other skills numerically.

Q: Is there at least one hideout enhancement that we are still missing?

A: I don't… believe so. I think the satellite dish went in last.

Q: Did we eventually notice the really subtle feedback that the red-lensed goggles were giving us on the road to finding the kraken's pearl, or did we just blunder on the item? If we missed the feedback, any hint what it is/was?

A: I'm pretty sure that you didn't. I think you just brute forced that one. Yeah, no. My hint would probably be get halfway (say, getting the pearl) and see what's different. That's kind of jerk hint but there you go. Might just have to figure that one out in reverse.

Q: A while ago you gave the cryptic hint "MANUALLY". Was that a hint to use the paper mache manually with glittering artistry or nightmarish artistry active, as opposed to using a known recipe and missing out on making cool stuff even though I was so close? Or was that hint pointing at something else?

A: No, I'm pretty sure that was hint for artistry.

Q: Is there a day-to-day source of the Breathing Embers effect, or is the Rending Smoke technique only going to be learnable on Metroplex Day?

A: No? No or no. I'm a jerk.

Q: Halloween is coming up fast, and with it our once-yearly chance to find what the Tattooed Man was hinting at last time around. You said before that we don't have all the painted items yet and that we can get about halfway to what he was talking about before Halloween. Care to give us any nudges? Here are some thing inquiring minds want to know: Is everything we need in the Hall of Paintings, or do we need to bring in moving parts from outside? Do we have to discover seeming unrelated stuff before we can even make progress at this?

A: I don't believe so. I think you're okay.

Q: Is it easy to lock yourself out of being able to find what we're looking for?

A: No, that would be pretty challenging.

Q: The Recommended Donation guy is described as " humming a strange melody you feel like you should recognize." Stories at an Exhibition mentions that patterns in the stars are music and that "anyone can learn the song and anyone with a little skill can play it, but few do." Is the laying the groundwork for later stuff, or can we follow up on it now? Is there some way we can acquire "a little skill" with music?

A: It is not unrelated exactly, but I don't think it's a direct music trigger. But not entirely unrelated.

Q: There don't seem to be any versions of the Starry Sky and Sunset Painting that appear while you are Etheric. Is there some way to unlock those?

A: Um, there… could a version of the sunset painting? If you lay out the etheric and non-etheric paintings I think there's a version of the sunset one unless I screwed something up. Unless I screwed something up there is an etheric version of each of the paintings but it may not be immediately obvious which is interesting.

Q: Is there some way to see more details in the Large Landscape?

A: Other than crawling in there…

Q: How come my character doesn't explore the streams and other stuff mentioned in the Forsaken Moor? It's not just peat in there.

A: Someone asked if there could be fishing in there which I thought would be delightful. It's something that probably shouldn't work but is hilarious enough that it should work. The understanding there is that there's nothing super exciting there.

Q: Last time around you mentioned a "cycle" that we haven't figured out how to complete yet. Care to elaborate on that a bit? >.>

A: I think you already mentioned it so I'm not going to be to worried about it.

Q: For your evil amusement, here are some things I want to do in the Museum but can't figure out how: Use the blazing feather to tattoo myself, using the black peat as ink.

A: You are not far off, but you'll just have to wait.

Q: Give a painted flower to the Painted Woman (What can I say? I'm a hopeless romantic.)

A: That would be kind of adorable, but she's kind of a jerk in etheric form at least. Can't really interact with the non-etheric version.

Q: Dump water from the sloshing vase on the Phoenix. Concoct some paint thinner.


Q: Often when I'm working on one of your puzzles, some event reward or legacy unearthly item seems like it'd be (part of) a good solution. But I always figure that making the solution to a puzzle depend on an item that some current players have no way to get other than the Omnimall is a big no-no. How hard is it to resist the pull of working legacy items into a puzzle when they would fit so well?

A: There are a handful of times when I have hooked in older items. Mostly I'm able to resist. I would rather have those items available in the wider game. Admittedly those are often a pain in the ass to get or undiscovered or whatever. But I'm not going to have something require a specific year's Metroplex Day rocket or something like that. Might have it require an item that reappears every year. Or have an option for a particular item. Eg. if there's a scene in the winter mirrorscape that's like, 'oh god you're so cold your ears fall off', obviously the unearthly hat (which I need to give a buff to since it's in rotation) would totally have to work there. But I would probably also allow a containment suit or something. But I appreciate adding a text callout or something. There's some stuff in the new hacking stuff where I have to reference eighty old items here because this is so sweet. Not actually eighty, more like three or four, but at least calling those out.

Q: Is it possible to get any new viral masses? I think I have seen one from a formatted site once, but I can't trust my memory on what I did this morning, much less something from a year or two ago.

A: I want to say that those are still available but don't quote me on that. At least I would not expect those to stay available for long, probably stop with Novos. [checks] [whispers something] If there is, I'm not immediately seeing it.

Q: What determines whether an effect is removed by Slags antidote? Finding a common link between Fae Blessing, Call of the Gift, Spectral Curse, and Burning Vision that doesn't include various other effects is a little difficult.

A: It has been a while since I have looked at the Slags Antidote. [checks] Hm. There are some. Yeah, it's just the categorization of the effects, not just an arbitrary list. But the way they are categorized may be a bit arbitrary. But doesn't look totally arbitrary to me so you might be okay.

Q: Is there a way to complete the Punk Uprising quest without giving the punks explosives?

A: I don't feel like there is? Unless you meet their sponsor you won't get skills.

Q: Is there any hidden content connecting the various encounters in which you get attacked or thrown out by security guards?

A: Haha, that would be hilarious to have a t-shirt 'I got thrown out of every location in Metroplex and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.'

Q: Is there anything else we can ask Watson Jr. about?

A: There are quite a few different conversion options there. I wouldn't be surprised if you had them all, nothing too hard to unlock. Might be some old Halloween text that didn't get recorded or something like that. I think you've found everything.

Q: Why does the mad surgeon's kit First Aid bonus apply to helping other people, in contradiction of the description?

A: [hahaha] Yeah, I can remove that tag. Also, I should rework the way First Aid works. Actually, it doesn't look like it should be able to. So go ahead and let me know where it's helping other people and I will get that fixed.

Q: Could we ever get items that function as equipment OR cyberware? Certain equipment like the rolling eyeball (or, if we want to get really crazy, every "heart" offhand) seem potentially "installable".

A: I don't see any reason why not. I'd have to fidget with the code a bit to make it work but that's reasonable.

Q: Now that I've spent 700 creds buying painting guidebooks, is "severe annoyance" sufficient legal defense for murder?

A: No, unfortunately.

Q: How much of Metroplexity is coded under the influence of PowerCode?

A: Surprising a lot of the early stuff, less of the later. Liz has trained me out of the magical way-too-little-sleep-and-way-too-much-caffeine coding. [1:00:00]

Q: Happy 5 years! Any reflections on the last 5 and next 5?

A: I feel actually, that I have made a good game, and made a lot of progress as a coder and designer. I'd like it to be further along but I'd also like it to be good. As far as the next five, I imagine I'll keep getting better and expanding and keep fixing stuff and get the main quest line done at some point. The other thing looking forward is how much Puyo's art has improved over the last five years. It would be nice to cull through the old art and update some stuff. Also thinking about Metroplexity LLC. as a company. Also working on a third project (aside from Metroplexity/Twilight Heroes) that spun off of Pathfinder stuff. [D&D til 1:14:45]

Q: So it seems that techniques can be flagged with certain characteristics (for example "gaze techniques"). Is this something that is hard coded specifically for the pocket mirror or should we be on the watch for more categorization of techniques? Anything similar we missed in the past?

A: I have been tagging techniques for… quite a while. There are a lot of things that are based on that infrastructure. Some of it is stuff that looks pretty innocuous, say the swordplay technique that follows parry is coded that way, in that it looks at the previous technique's tags and sees 'this was a parry', even though there are many forms of parry. Eg. there's a huge difference between the base form for etheric techniques (without Eclipse), and the powered forms which makes it way easier on my end.

Q: How many flags does an average opponent have (say, the painted woman for example.)? Are there any other subtle (or obvious) things that we could be cataloguing?

A: Conceptually, they have every bit as many stats as the player. They also have a bunch of other flags as you say. Eg. the painted woman has three, possibly adding more. Some other opponents have 5 or 6 or 0. It has its gender, image, name, hover text, gas mask, are handled separately. 4 is probably average. Some are not immediately obvious, some are possibly not triggered off of, or else very opaque, like, hypothetical example: there's a technique "Bite Someone", and there might be a version of it that looks at their tags and sees it as the "Big scary teeth" tag and there's a scary teeth version of this technique.

Q: If you haven't talked about it yet: how's Novos progressing?

A: Very well. The next stage, percentage-wise, it's close. It replaces halfish of the existing Net content. In theory I could have it out by the end of August, but hopefully September. Also a new kitchen for Kinak's house for September. [Renovations] I'd really like to have it out before Halloween. There's an unearthly item that's related to Novos that's pretty huge. At least 2 unearthly items, maybe 3. And if by some bizarre stroke of fate I get all Novos stuff done by the end of the year, back to Oldtown. Not sure how much I've talked about the Oldtown structure- you sort of follow through with the chosen Survivor through the Oldtown quest. Not dissimilar quests. Eg. Dr. Amundsen's path involves a lot of hacking. I keep planning on doing little updates which I sort of skipped for GenCon but probably something for next week.

Q: Some opponents have slight variations of known techniques: The Flickering Guard has a version of Release the Hounds, but summoned with a horn instead of tome. The Painted Woman has a version of Binding Words but "shadowy ribbons" instead of "shadowy chains". Are these completely new techniques or variations on the normal ones? Can we do either one?

A: Does that actually work for release the hounds? I'm not exactly sure if it does. Mythologically it's a version of release the hounds. I feel like you might be able to do shadowy ribbons. I'm pretty sure you can't do the other one. Looks like you can't do the ribbons one either. A while back I found that I was losing track of stuff in the technique table so added a hidden notes field. So they are definitely… because enemies can have the same sets of flags that you can there are definitely places where the techniques… eg. there's exactly the same code that checks if you have a gas mask or your opponent has a gas mask and reacts appropriately. Eg. the swordplay checks for swords even where it's not necessarily accessible to you.

Q: If we were somehow viciously cut into pieces, what would happen? Could multiple parts survive and regenerate back into full people again? Do the cyberware doctors notice that your hand continues to live after it's been severed? Will we get a chance to find out?

A: You are not… so, well, there's just one of you. This can get somewhat tricky if you talking about getting hacked to pieces and which part of you regrows. That is a question that actually has a lot of variable to it which I'm not going to get into. There's a bit of light shed on that with Hammer interactions but you'll get more light on that later.

Q: How much Eclipse would we have to give a cyberdoctor before he could install giant bat wings as cyberarms?

A: I guess the more interesting question would be how much Eclipse would you have to take before you could install those and fly? I'd be much more inclined to have those as bodyware or something.

Q: Are there any other things that can be trigged by gaining Etheric that we haven't found yet (like Broken Gaze or Distant Claw)?

A: I feel like [checks] that is one of the longer scripts in the game. There's a bunch of sweet rewards. [Hehehehe] And some stuff that's just awesome. You can't hear this but I'm just smiling. Oh yeah, so there's at least one that you haven't found, and a whole bunch of other ones that you may or may not have figured out that you can gain from Eclipse.

Q: Thanks for all the new fire techniques! How long until we can equip flamethrowers and go full pyro?

A: At some point in the distant future will be a lot more to do with the Blind Legion and their mysteries. I'd expect to see a lot more flamethrower stuff there (I actually have art for that technique from the original art request.)

Q: Why did the Smoke Serpent have a special message when opposed with gas grenade? Was this the case for all untyped techniques?

A: No I actually added that message for gas grenade as appropriate. There's actually a couple other creatures that have that now.

Q: Why do smelly old pants offer a benefit to us (+1 melee defense) while comfy jeans do not?

A: The additionally crustiness.

Q: Would you ever consider implementing morality conducts? I.E. a conduct for never triggering an "evil" (cool coin) action.

A: I had thought about that but it would probably not be structured exactly that way. It would probably be more like do a lot of warm coin actions and few/no cool coin actions. Just avoiding those is way less interesting, less of a conduct. The benefit of having it avoid them is the Switzerland conduct where you don't do any good or evil.

Q: Your avatar features a heart wand with an eclipse decal. Will this item ever be implemented?

A: I find that unlikely but delightful. I guess there's always the possibility of Halloween.

Q: Played any good games (video or otherwise) lately?

A: I'm actually really terrible at video games so mostly just watch other people. [Star Trek]

Q: [1:48] Hollow Monstrosity is pretty cool! Is it the coolest though? How does it rank among your favorite opponents and have we found your favorite yet.

A: The Hollow Monstrosity is definitely up there, the Smoke Dragon is up there too. The Monstrosity is the one I was talking about earlier. It's an absurd concept at some levels but the way that it is crafted and the interactions there I really like.

Q: Speaking of that Nightmarish/Glittering Artistry block of content, we have anything left to find from it? Maybe another tech besides Devilish Flames?

A: At least one item (and recipe) and at least one technique.

Q: You told me ages ago that the Data Scrubber conundrum can be solved strategically. That it's a strategic problem instead of a tactical one. I assume by strategic you don't mean how you get to level 6 access level cause that's no problem. What I have trouble wrapping my mind around is how you be strategic about deep file scanning when all it amounts to clicking the Browse Hidden Files button. I've done at least 64 hidden files browsing with all 3 types of file scanners and 22 code finesse to no avail. So… I'm stumped.

A: You need to scootch back further. You have the button, you have the access, move back further.

Q: So I found a new result with Mysterious Ash! If the pattern in drone memories had jumped out at you, it reminds you of old drone neural nets. Now I have to ask. How much more is to this item? How many moving pieces does it have that must align before I unlocked AMAZING rewards BEYOND IMAGINATION.

A: I seem to recall there's a lot for that item. There's… a deeply compounded set of results. There's 20 plus or minus message, and some mechanical results. Kind of nuts.

Q: There are at least a few items now that produce special results if you multi-use a lot of them at once. Popping a handful of Blitz Poppers for Recorded Blitz, and unleashing an inferno from burning ectoplasms for a skill. Anything else like this remaining to be discovered?

A: There's a few others you have found, eg. the one for selling for Golden Tickets. I like that mechanic in that it encourages people to do what they should be doing anyway. You want to be using items at once instead of once at a time. I work really hard to make sure that using a bunch at once doesn't fuck you over. Mark Rosewater has said that if you want to make someone feel good about the design you want to give them things for doing what they already want to do. [Magic, fencing, etc.]

Q: [2:00] This Metroplexity Anniversary you broke tradition and made the smoked firework. This is different from all the previous years where the Finale firework had an adjective for wet. I was looking forward to seeing such things as the Dripping Firework or the Waterlogged Firework or even the Damp Firework. What made you feel the need to move on from wetness?

A: Haha, just to fit in with the theme of smoke-ness with the new dragon.

Q: Before I asked you how many things outside the Charnel house we have to do before we can find its super secret. I am hoping for a clarification. How many of those things we need to do things we've yet to discover?

A: There's basically just the one, but it's really bad. There's at least one other thing that would help discover things inside the charnel house. I'm not surprised it hasn't been discovered, but it seems like the type of thing where someone says, "Ah, I should try that". So yeah, two things, one of which is super hard, one of which is from outside the charnel house.

Q: I guess first things first is a little badgering about fishing: When it comes to fishing resulting in 2-5 items is the increase in the floor a hidden modifier from the Fishing skill or is it somehow related to our rank? The gap of time between hitting Comfortable and getting the skill has proven to be too short to really get a lucky break.

A: It isn't quite a floor per se. That's not very helpful answer. You can still get very few or zero items, just other factors make that unlikely.

Q: One of the last sets of fishing data I collected was while Etheric (via Ocean Sight) and while nothing large occurred I did have some small variances. In summary does being Etheric have a small impact on fishing or is it just a little wobble that would have smoothed itself out?

A: I'm pretty sure I didn't do anything like make Ocean Sight give you more live fish or something. But I also wouldn't be surprised, depending on where you're collecting the data, on seeing some items become more common.

Q: High Test has some nifty interactions with +surface, +deep, and +object lures. Out of curiosity are there any other interactions that are currently unknown?

A: Yeah, pretty sure. There's actually a ton going on in fishing. The reason you've had to put so much work there is because there are so many variables and a lot of them are buried pretty deep. Some are very broad eg. high test. Some are more specific to individual items you can catch.

Q: Is there more to Fish Empathy or is it exactly what it says on the tin? Still an interesting little effect though.

A: I'm pretty sure that's what's on the tin?

Q: I'm still at an impasse with the tackle box when it comes to the cheater's line. Would you be willing to give a cryptic hint?

A: Just go all in. Don't half-ass cheating.

Q: Will there be more fishing in Old Town?

A: That is not a terrible question. Old Town does not border on the lake. So if there is any fishing, it would be subterranean, no lake fishing.

Q: When it comes to the Zalian Multiweapon is the flamethrower it mentions the +fire power or are we missing out on futuristic fire technology?

A: I think it's just the Fire Power. I remember having art, but I don't

Q: Since the revamp if running from Thrivaldi triggers the Omega Order he tries to get them to send cleaners instead. Where exactly do the cleaners fit into the pecking order? Are they of a tier similar to Thrivaldi, higher up like Janet, or do they present a larger threat of sorts?

A: The pecking order within Midgard is very much a corporate structure. So what you're looking at is distance from the CEO (generation), and then the actual pecking order. The cleaners that he's referring to, all the big corps have SWAT-like teams for dealing with big threats. The cleaners tend to be a little Scorched Earth, eg. Omnitech Special Forces sweep in and kill everyone.

Q: Still on the subject of the cleaners the two that he names are Ginn and Ymir. Going by the Bullet for X Techniques from the spacious cargo pants is Surt also a cleaner?

A: Well, I think he refers to those separately. Those three people are related in a trifecta. You probably won't see them all at the same time unless you're really fucked though. How about this: if one of them is a cleaner, they're all cleaners, and if not then not.

Q: Out of curiosity is the item gap in the cargo pants related to a function of the knuckle items we have missed or is there another item from the pockets we haven't triggered yet?

A: There is at least one item that's missing. I honestly don't even remember how it's triggered but I don't think there's another pocket item, most of those were pretty straight forward.

Q: Are we any closer to finding out how to fish in the Lake of Mists than we were before the previous podcast?

A: Don't think so.

Q: Is the trick to upgrading the advanced harmonies from the Midgard Player obvious or obtuse?

A: [Hahahaha] Pretty obtuse.

Q: Are there any unique Mirror Gazing results from limited-time opponents that have been lost forever?

A: That's sort of a depressing thought. I always know that people feel bad if they manage to capture something and it turns out to be just +1 XP. I don't think I'm seeing anyone with a special effect that won't be coming back if that helps.

Q: Speaking of which, have we found all we could find so far in regards to Mirror Gazing?

A: Ugh, well, there's a lot of stuff to be found from Mirror Gazing. Some of them are pretty negligible. 34 results, some of which might be multiple opponents and might be some overlap.

Q: What are the odds of seeing penguins in earthly or unearthly content?

A: I would say fairly low. I would not be surprised to see an adorable stuffed penguin or a penguin costume at some point.

Q: In ten years, could you see yourself basically doubling the number of unearthly items we have so far, or will the madness stop or slow down somewhere down the line?

A: What I would like to see happen is some items to drop out of circulation.

Q: Why is the player character still sane(ish) after basically injecting everything they get their hands on? I would imagine tripping on 25 different types of Eclipse and Eclipse derivatives, among many, many other psychotropic substances, would eventually take it's toll on one's grip on reality. Is there some sort of mental defense in place to complement our super-regeneration?

A: A lot of it is that you don't suffer from the consequences of drugs because of your regenerative ability. So I guess I'll say the characters are suspiciously stable for the stuff they do.

Q: You enjoy making sure that content remains unique each year, but we've hit the occasional item that is (vaguely) more 'optimal' one way or the other. Should we be expecting nerfs?

A: I'm kind of wondering what… well, I don't mind a little bit of powercreep. It's generally healthy, as long as it's reasonable. Eg. amount of iron in your diet. It's important for the game to evolve and change, and part of that is more and more powerful stuff to put in unless there's some kind of mechanic to rotate stuff, eg. Type 2 in magic. But yeah if something is totally out of line, it can get nerfed.

Q: 5 years! How much money would you be hoping to make on this game?

A: Interesting question. I mean, I would accept any amount of money, which is not to say that I'm not making any money now. People's generosity is enough to cover server costs and then some. Ideally, between Metroplexity and Twilight Heroes and other projects, I'd like to pull in enough so that Lyz doesn't have to feel like she has to scrimp on stuff. Left to my own devices I could live in a studio apartment and eat ramen, but Lyz expects me to behave like an actual human being. So on the order of $500, maybe. The original guess for budgeting is that if things go smoothly could get maybe $800 a month, if I get everything run smoothly. I'm not entirely sure how realistic that would be in retrospect but we'll see.

Q: Any chance of pulling the KoL style 'yearly' items, or should we be happy that Zack cycles as much as he does?

A: I would not be completely opposed to putting in longer term Zack's items. I'm not sure that there's a need for it yet. I'd like to get up to monthly items again, but if I can't keep up with that yearly ones seems kind of overkill. Once items start getting retired, I'd be more inclined to to yearly. I would not be surprised if there wasn't another permanent one like the camera sometime.

Q: Do some of our prank ideas ever serve as a basis for content?

A: There are some things that people have joked about that I have added in some capacity. I was tempted to add something to the winter hat that someone was joking about. And there was something unfound that was joked about and then I put it in.

Q: We have No Idea what we're doing when hunting for some of the earliest content, and the rare sightings of it imply the triggers may be limited. Is the flag to get the Spider's Nest only available one time, or can anyone at any time during the run still trigger the spider's nest?

A: I feel like yeah, it's triggered certainly. Just kind of funny I don't think of this as particularly old content. Oh yeah, you might be able to… dooo do doo do. I think you might be able to lock yourself out of that. Seems fine. You should be able to trigger that just fine. Not actually seeing anything particularly weird about that.

Q: Are we missing anything in the Antique Mirror? I think you've said we've found most things. (If yes, can you at least point us in the rough season we're missing things in?)

A: Actually nothing you are missing is in one season. At least nothing that I was talking about that is hard to find. There's a couple trans-seasonal bits.

Q: Halloween is coming! AHHHH! Should we expect anything new added, seeing as how Metroplex Day got some new updates?

A: That's sort of the thing with Halloween, just add way too much content.

Q: How many billions of creds would we need to sink to unlock special halloween events? Or even just to rent an animatronic raptor for the gang?

A: Haha, I'm picturing a gang birthday party. I have not planned out the entirety of the Halloween content yet. Probably involve a lot of building, which may or may not require a lot of credits.

Q: Sideways to Halloween, we're still missing stuff in the Art Gallery. Does the Gallery feed off any other Art skills? (Perhaps even some of the undiscovered ones?)

A: There is at least one undiscovered skill in the gallery. There's also the second floor which is just not there yet.

Q: On the topic of holidays, does the End Boss of Christmas season depend on you, or is it affected by the snowman values we throw around?

A: There's a couple things you could call the end boss. There's the cleanup boss, which is just a bonus present, but some of the other boss-esque things are from the values.

Q: Also, how long until we use our cars to go raid the nearby tree farms and battle farmer droids?

A: I wouldn't be surprised if some people downtown still had real Christmas trees. Not really a big fan of live Christmas trees. I would be surprised if you got out far enough to get any.

Q: Finally, how do most executives handle Novos? It's an incredibly powerful elegant system, but it is also incredibly vicious and self destructive, meaning anyone who needs to use it for a length of time would probably have a set of pregenerated 'dice' according to their job. Any chance we're going to have to steal/hack/'find' some of those on later systems?

A: It would not surprise me. Mechanically, if you have the right interface program, you're not hacking, you're just interacting with the system. Eg. the test system in the biolab, you're not hacking it to pass the test you're just using it like a computer. But would not surprise me if you have to steal someone's programs to interface properly with the system. Depending on what access you have, it may not even require hacking. So may not be as exciting as you are expecting. But interface, knowledge and access can combine together for a challenge. Eg. you have to steal some guy's program, and have that running on your computer, and have acquired knowledge of how to use it, and having appropriate access so you might have to still hack into the system.

Q: Or will the old rule of Security through obscurity lead to hidden systems that run Oldos for the simple reason of being a very stable if slow system?

A: I would be surprised to see anything in Oldos once Novos is rolled out. For the simple reason that I (and the Metroplex system admins) don't want to maintain that code anymore. Eventually everything will get replaced with the Novos stuff.

Q: Just as a slight variation of what Arkaim said above - do you add content based on our wildly inaccurate spading ideas or questions on the podcast questions thread. Especially as you have incredibly obscure content which I'm amazed even the spaders manage to stumble upon it seems like it would be easy to slip in.

A: There are definitely some things that I have ended up adding like that. Eg. Al sent a bug report not too long ago, that some enemies seem like they should be using the sword version of some techniques but they're not, so added sword flags to them. Some other ones that people have suggested, eg. some ideas when people were first spading the Novos stuff that were so good that it carried over into the new Novos stuff. Most of the time people have good ideas and it will show up in newer content. Usually when adding something like that the person who's asking about it knows, and possibly some other spades. I have a Word document for things. A really good suggestion for the Omniwatch which I haven't gotten around to implementing yet. A lot of it is just more like people say we're interested in X, more X will show up. Eg. get a lot of questions about the Blind Legion, so there's a quest chain planned for that, and more likely to add that sooner. [cliques and world-building and self-improvement]

Podcast #33

Q: I really enjoyed Halloween this year. This is always a really nice community but especially so lately where a bunch of people donated huge chunks of their limited time and resources to it. How did Halloween go from the development perspective?

A: Pretty well. Tried a bit of a different spin, extending the storyline in a different direction. Didn't get as much as I wanted to but that's the way things go

Q: I'm sure you don't want to give us any exact numbers, but how far did we get on building? How did it compare to the amount of smashing? Could we have actually finished the dorm with enough dedication?

A: You did very well on building. The smashing definitely didn't keep up by a pretty healthy amount. It was very much like a teetertotter but it ended up very much on the building side. The last couple of days were a lot more balanced. It shot past getting the walls set up encounters and getting the stairs and such before it balanced out. As far as actually finishing the dorms, there was more you could build but not to the point of putting up drywall and finishing touches.

Q: The blast doors were a pretty interesting mechanic. Will there be any similar non-holiday interactions? We get some of that in PvP, but it's more "unlocking access" to an area rather than toggling between states in a global way.

A: I would at some point do (or have done) stuff with that in the subway. I'm not actually sure if any of that is global. But I want to add more down there (I have some great art for down there forever, just haven't had time). PvP is a great way to do that to have gangs fight back and forth. I'd be pretty surprised to see that in a reset sense, eg. the riots on the quad aren't going to toggle globally.

Q: I know that wall turrets don't turn Etheric monsters on purpose, but if they did, what would they turn into?

A: I'm assuming that everyone is familiar with Plants vs. Zombies, something like the Pea Shooters, shooting spines or vines at you, or maybe some kind of cobra. Some kind of plant or fungus creature.

Q: Are there any avatars from limited-time content (an achromatic avatar comes to mind)? How about any more unearthly ones? Any other hints at avatars?

A: There are at present 30 available. Several are related to unearthly items (a lot of them, actually). Should probably add more earthly ones. At least one that I'd consider limited time. At least two that don't require limited items. Most of the newer ones have been unearthly.

Q: Any hints at how we might smuggle some cyberbowl promotional chips in? I have the promo codes for it but all my various smuggler contacts don't seem interested.

A: I think it will come to you. Admittedly I could be a total dick to add those there and make them entirely impossible. But they are available and if you think about the general thrust of when those went in you should probably be able to figure it out.

Q: The fountain in the quad- we can't seem to interact with it in any way. If we take Eclipse, can we go swimming with the loose change sharks? Or at least go fishing for them??

A: I suppose I could add something for the fountain there. It's more just that the fountain doesn't engender a lot of interaction. Maybe if we had to meet an NPC there or something.

Q: The phoenix in the museum - it is described as first as "like a rising sun", and then later "glowing like the noonday sun". Following on, it seems the next step would be to somehow make the sun set? Was this the thing you were talking about that you thought would be obvious but turned out not to be?

A: No, that wasn't what I was thinking was obvious.

Q: Will we ever see chainsaw weapons? Realistically, it would be just as likely to cut yourself as your opponent, but it would be pretty bad-ass anyway. Or even better, chainsaw cyberarms?

A: I would not be surprised to see chainsaws or chain blades at some point. They're sort of silly but hilariously bad-ass so there's an argument to be made there. I would have to add some hilarious penalty since it's really not that good a weapon.

Q: Hey Kinak, thanks for a great holiday! Are you planning on starting a series of game articles, or is that one on randomness just something you wanted to put out their? Either way I think its great, I love those sort of things.

A: More articles on the Metroplexity Games site coming eventually, as things come up, and branching out to other random stuff.

Q: So, the workers specifically mention having the dorms ready by the next semester. As the machine below the dorms is still there, is there any chance it will get worked into christmas activities, or come up again as its own thing?

A: It would surprise me if it did not come up again. I don't have any specific plans for Christmas yet but I don't expect any huge revisions there so I think it would come up as its own thing.

Q: Do you believe one side or goal of the event is easier then another, and if so is this intentional? For example I view smashing the machine as being much easier then fixing it because of the energy and material costs involved. Additionally, do you want to encourage the players to be divided in action (can't come up with a better term)? Sometimes the prizes seem to imply this.

A: It's nice to have people moving in opposite directions. As far as making one side easier than the other, there are definitely times when I think one side will be easier than the other, but that is usually not that [gets more done??]. Usually I see reality as it being easier to tear things down than to build things up. One thing that does happen a lot in the Halloween content is when there are tiered encounters, the side that is doing better, as they extend they become potentially more vulnerable. Eg. the stairs encounter that did a lot of damage to the building cause. And there are options that counterbalance up those. As you build up (literally in this case), you get higher stakes. That's often a sign of well designed competitive games - they will become more unreliable near the end or rely on more hidden information near the end. Eg. Ticket to Ride.

Q: Not a question, but I really liked how novos was worked into being part of another event, instead of hacking being its own separate thing. Keeps it more varied and interesting.

A: Thanks. I think that's one of the real strengths of Novos, in being more integrated and more choice intensive. You need to be prepared to be in the area you are in and also hacking. Do you have enough in your skills/effects/etc. to allow full hacking gear or back that off a bit?

Q: During podcasts, do you sometimes feel silly saying our names out loud? Especially mine?

A: Not especially. I am sometimes really bad with names. It probably says something that I probably know just as many player IDs as I do player names.

Q: Do you think it would be possible for a normal (non-superhuman) person to complete the questline, ala True Immortal, if they were very, very careful and prepared?

A: Yeah that's sort of what the True Immortal version is. I would like to as some point have an actual Hardcore version where if you die you get sent back to the beginning.

Q: The description of credits, if you click on "Credits", implies that the player character randomly mugged people in our early days. Is that true?

A: Hm, let me read that. That is just comparing it to random muggings, but not really.

Q: Think we could cook food with the blowtorch? It's a real life thing.

A: Unlikely, but making some creme brule or searing some wagyu? beef is pretty delicious.

Q: Can't omnitech track us if we use their Omnitech supplies crates' cred chips?

A: The reason that you end up using cred chips is that they're not tracked, you just store on there, like bitcoins almost. Like a VISA gift card. I guess if they're transferring them to your account then maybe, but they're a size of a company of Omnitech, they write off a few billion creds a year in loss.

Q: I get it's for balance, but is there an in-universe reason why crates of eclipse worth so little in the stash?

A: Eclipse really has a flooded market in Metroplex. Normally a drug like Eclipse would be fairly expensive but having someone crack it open and sort it all out adds enough overhead that you lose all your profit margins.

Q: There is punk music, classical music, holiday music, gaming music, and what I assume is electronic and experimental from the Midgard Player and Emerald Gift. So, why not metal? Black metal and folk metal are known for Vikings as subject matter, so I think it would be the most appropriate addition of music ever. :P

A: I feel like the punk stuff is pretty metal. But there's definitely some straightup black metal would not be out of place. (My Wednesday and Friday pandora playlists…)

Q: Having used the Industrial Hair Gel constantly for the Hollow Dorms, I was wondering- can player characters go bald? Or does the hair regenerate too?

A: I meam, I don't think they can go permanently bald, but can shave your head easily enough.

Q: I'm noticing every time new content is added, a lot of new themes are brought in, and with them. For Halloween, it was the addition of stones, insects and masks among other things. Of which there is no shortage in mask-, bug- and rock—related items and phenomena be spaded for interactions and such. Knowing you there is of course, plenty of content to be found in that search. That said, there are likely also a lot of red herrings. I know how you already mentioned "stinky" red herrings and the pressing need to avoid them in a previous podcast, but I'm interested in your stance on less dangerous red herrings, since I could see how someone would both want and not want red herrings in one's game. How do you generally feel about red herrings in your game as a developer?

A: As a whole, I think that if you have sufficiently complex system, red herrings kind of develop themselves. For example you have the mask content, the halloween stuff. And there's a lot of masks in the game. And so some of them don't really do anything too interesting. So a lot of them don't do anything too interesting from sheer weight of numbers, but a lot of them do do something interesting. The problem with red herrings is you're expecting a clue to lead some place and it doesn't go anywhere. A distinction to be made between Twilight Heroes and Metroplexity, the former is less amenable to that sort of thing.

Q: Favorite Norse diety?

A: Saying Wotan/Odin seems kind of cheating but is definitely a personal favourite. I was raised without any particular religious upbringing, so I read the bible and books on various other mythologies. (I blame D&D for a lot of the stuff I ran into.) I wouldn't have known anything about Hindu mythology for example before running into it in D&D. One of the things that came up a lot in arguments, back during the Christenization of Europe, a lot of people compared Jesus to Odin- [I was strongly considering using all of Odin's different names for avatar file names, Hrafnagud.] -I think that comparison was always interesting, pinned to a cross/tree, came back later, the nature of the sacrifices and their gifts was a topic of conversation. […]

Q: Why is there no pizza in Metroplexity?

A: That's kind of funny. As you go through the main questline, the quality of food goes up as you go. Metroplexity only has high quality extra cheesy deep dish pizza. I actually have art for that once the questline gets there.

Q: Would the raven's eyes technique cascade from melee or evasion if we ever got melee or evasion techs of the right chain?

A: I don't think I have that coded in there since it seemed so unlikely that it would show up.

Q: If Blood of the Ancients doesn't change the text of a technique, is it a fair bet that it doesn't change the technique's damage either?

A: That is probably a fair bet. There obviously are a lot of modifiers going on under the hood but as a general rule of thumb the power of the technique is changed by using a different version of a technique, and at that point it's just as easy to change the text.

Q: If I summon monsters with Stolen Artistry and then run away, do they go on a rampage? Would a hundred ghouls running amok trigger the Omega Order? Would a black stone beast in my apartment beat the wolf reflection?

A: I like to think that they vanish back into your imagination. But I think that the black stone beast would put your possessions in far more danger than the wolf reflection.

Q: Can we obtain any of the techniques the Flickering Guard uses?

A: I feel like you end up using them all differently.

Q: Right now, if I attack an NPC in a choice encounter, then run away or stand there until I die, it usually has the same effect as outright killing the NPC. Realism wise, it could go either way (maybe the bums in the park aren't taking chances, but would a guard fire an automatic at me because I shouted "oogie boogie" at a student in the art museum and ran away?). Gameplay wise, the vast majority of the time this happens because the player misclicked and attempted to salvage their mistake. Any chance of changing some of these to let them do so?

A: It's actually not like that the vast majority of the time. Most of the time where that does actually come up, it's something that can be salvaged through the balm of time. But keep in mind if you go into a museum and jumping people in a way that's violet but don't actually hit them, you'll still expect the guards to be called. And the guards are not nice guys.

Q: Regarding The History of the Orbital Wars- if we're missing something from Halloween regarding it?

A: As far as the book itself, no you shouldn't be. Though there were obviously a lot of references to the orbital wars because of the statue going in. The point of the statue is that it has almost nothing to do with the real wars as anything. I suppose I could add a note to book calling it out. Like the other thing that might not have been found so I won't say anything about it.

Q: If Metros makes such terrible beer, why do they seem to have a monopoly on the market?

A: Well, no offence to anyone who drinks Bud? Light, but…. Metros Light is mostly at the expense of the college people I went to school with.

Q: What's the deal with the Charcoal Sketch? Surely you didn't create a piece of furniture whose sole purpose was to stare creepily out of our profiles….right?

A: That's the best reason to create a piece of furniture!

Q: Did smashing the controls in the Dorms basement during Halloween destroy built-up lasers, or was it a separate counter?

A: There was an issue with it for a while that wasn't working right, but was supposed to decrement the laser counter.

Q: Will we ever be able to go to "The Flats" that the Dingy Guard in the Sculpture area mentions?

A: You will probably end up there at some point. That's the colloquial name for the suburbs, or half way between the 'burbs and Mad Max.

Q: Is the Valkyrie at all related to the Winged Hunter, or are they completely unrelated etheric bird-people?

A: The relationships between etheric things could be seen a couple different ways. Some similarities between body form, but if I were to do a family tree so to speak, they would be separate branches.

Q: Your stories in the Book of Sculptures were amazing again this year. How long until my face is mercilessly ripped off by Carol?

A: Let's see. The Carol counter is slowly decrementing…. yeah that's one of my favourites too. [hahaha] I do enjoy writing those too much.

Q: What was the inspiration for the name Sothrane Nighthawk?

A: Mostly the need for an over-the-top fantasyish name. It is a little bit tied to her actual name. A little bit making fun of me - Kinak was the first D&D character that wasn't named Landon.

Q: The description of the holocaust coat is running out of time to become true! In an effort to prevent Metroplex fans from committing arson to ensure their favorite city gets rebuilt around them, are you going to move the prediction forward a few years?

A: I might, to preserve the integrity of the timeline. Unless some actual major city gets burned down.

Q: How much of the game's economy gets sunk in Halloween every year?

A: It's an interesting question. I didn't specifically keep track of it this year, but last year - the amount of liquid credits stayed pretty constant. Maybe down 25% of the money in all active accounts or something like that. But what did happen was a complete devastation of all sellable items. You look at all the totals and think, where did they get all this money from, and then look at gold foil totals.

Q: How many credits profit does a company like Midgard make in a year?

A: I would think on the order of billions of credits a quarter, on top of their operating expenses. So, a lot of money. Though Omnitech/Zaibatsu is way more than that.

Q: Did we miss out on whatever item #1957 is?

A: Probably? That happens not infrequently around Halloween time. Yeah, pretty sure you missed out on that. There was a sort of set of items which might have been both unlocked but pretty tricky.

Q: When you said last time that some of the 34 results from Mirror Gazing were from multiple results, did you mean that multiple opponents give the same result or that a specific combination of opponents in the mirror could give a different result when used?

A: I totally should, but no to the latter. There are some cases where multiple opponents give the same thing.

Q: Monarch's Call and Mirror Gazing are fairly complicated compared to Ruthlessness. Is there more to that skill than meets the eye, or is it just a nice, simply powerful thing?

A: More the latter. I like to include some choices that let you choose your level of complexity.

Q: Any Novos items that we haven't found yet?

A: At least one… that I hoped would be found by Halloween. I would not be surprised to find out if there were yet more.

Q: Is there any way to get the contraband Cyberbowl items, or is that something we can't solve at this point in the game?

A: You actually can find them. I should double check to make sure that's not broken but I'm pretty sure it's okay.

Q: Obviously, mythology is something of an influence on Metroplexity, especially Norse mythology. How safe are we in making assumptions based on what we know about that? If, say, Fenrir was to turn up 1 would it be reasonable to assume he'd been birthed by Lo, at least in a metaphorical way?

A: There's a couple different levels that shows up on. When you're talking about Hel, Lo, Baldur and Sif, etc. that have mythological codenames from Midgard - they are assigned those by mortal agencies. Hel's actual full name is Helen, and she was doing site security, so there's a guardian of the underworld type thing. Not the most secure but Midgard is like that, especially the guy who was handing out code names at the time. So there might be a Fenrir out there that was Lo's responsibility at some point, but that wouldn't directly be because of the mythology, not a mirror to the mythology, more because whoever was choosing the codenames thought that would be funny or appropriate. So they can be anywhere from very helpful to very misleading (much like anything in this game). The person who gave the Survivors their code names is not the same person giving out the code names even in Special Projects now and there are other entire namespaces in other areas in the company. Eg. probably new Lokis or Hels. I guess you can see that a bit with Yggdrasil.

Q: Do you have any main source you look up mythology in? A book say, with a named author and possibly publisher? shifty eyes

A: I'm not going to say that I really listen to any particular source more than others. If you're looking for 'what inspired you to look into mythology', I'd say Legends and Lore from 2nd Edition D&D. I have a giant tome somewhere of generic mythology but probably wouldn't get too may spoilers out of it.

Q: Will we meet all the gangs mentioned in the game at some point in the future? I'm liking the sound of the Renegades a lot 2. I know other people have rather a fondness for the Zaibatsu and more specifically their swords.

A: I would definitely expect to see them when you get out there. Once you get to downtown, you would be wise avoiding meeting the Mafia or Yakuza, etc. Also Big M from Third Eye, etc. Laying groundwork for future hooks.

Q: When we get to old town, will we be able to buy a bigger house? Frankly, I think the current one is beneath a man of my stature.

A: There are actually a couple places I would like to put bonus houses, it just hasn't been a huge issue so far. There's staring to be enough furniture that it might be worth it. There are a number of things which have been in the plans basically forever- bigger houses, pets, etc.

Q: Also, you might find this article interesting- Greg Costikyan Randomness Talk

A: It's actually an interesting prequel to the randomness in that it's mostly about randomness from a multiplayer perspective.

Q: Just wondering from a coding point of view - do you write options for every possible option, or do you wait until we get close to a target and then code as necessary?

A: For most of the stuff you see, I pre-write out everything. Occasionally, someone says, "you should really be able to to this", and then I put it in. Some of it is written with some vague idea of what people want to do. Eg. I'm writing the Halloween stuff while the pre-Halloween stuff is being played out. But it's really easy to miss 500 punks in the dorms. Actually got +100 punks in 24 hours, and ended up with 500 and change.

Q: Do you reuse the undiscovered code from year to year?

A: Yeah, I tend to. The pumpkin king from previous years showed up after the year it was added.

Q: Every year it seems like Halloween prep starts later and later. We have less and less time for pre Halloween prep. Will one of these years we'll only have Halloween Eve? Will it perhaps wrap around and we'll start Halloween prep in November? How do you feel about this?

A: It's sort of a combination of how much stuff I have available when stuff gets finished. I have consciously been trying do less stuff on my side for Halloween. It's been super stressful in previous years.

Q: In general, how did YOU feel about this Halloween?

A: It's a ton of work, but also lots of fun as a designer. It seems like it would be fun to play through, and fun to watch from the vague-man's perspective. I would get more other stuff done if I didn't do it but as a once a year thing, it's pretty good. Ask me again at the end of September and I'll be more excited.

Q: Although no one quite reached their goal this Halloween. Out of everyone, however, it seems the Punks got the most out of this Holiday. Thanks to The Blind Legion and a few other prominent members. I have to wonder, though, how much more the Punks could've accomplished. How close were we to reaching the next stage of Punk mayhem?

A: It ended up being really kind of interesting. I did not expect the punks to make a ton of progress - it was not a faction that got a ton of love in previous years. But I was also expecting heaps of dead guard corpses everywhere. But for the most part, the guards were actually holding fairly steady until near the end. Getting the punks alone or in control could have easily happened but there were just so many guards left, which was the exact opposite of what I expected to happen. Just workers and ghosts running the place. But what ended up happening in practice was that the punks and guards were at parity but but pretty high numbers.

Q: Could the Punks have conceivably reached the basement? Discovered the TRUTH and blown this case wide open?

A: They were quite a ways from getting into the basement. And probably wouldn't have done much "investigation" if they got down there.

Q: The Punks have traditionally been a rather neglected part of Halloween. Did it surprise you when they came out on top this time? Does it tell anything significant about the changing climate of Metroplexity?

A: Yes, like I was saying it's important to prepare for all the outcomes. It says something interesting about people's changing interest. But also a lot of the difference was, well, I mean the punks are violent spoiled assholes. But they play a lot better against Midgard than they do against spoiled non-violent assholes or against reasonably pleasant people. If the punks and workers were in opposition it would have ended badly. Etc.

Q: PunksPunksPunksPunks Cccccombo breaker! You mentioned, for the Art Museum, we need to complete one cycle to unlock a puzzle for another. Was Erenoth finding Summon Mount completing a cycle?

A: That is part of the cycle. There are certain techniques associated with all of them. Finding and using that cycle perfectly certainly wouldn't hurt your quest, but wasn't exactly what I was talking about either.

Q: It seemed the Few Million Credit Smokescreen that Arthur J said Midgard will throw up worked with flying colors. Instead of going for the massive payoff with the Machine and releasing Emerald Gift and the next Etheric Holocaust into the world, Metroplexians were led astray by the lure of candy and stealing punch inside the Art Museum. If fact, it seemed to work too well. Did you cleverly plan it so that the best chance people had to getting the massive payoff was to sink the majority of their energy in the basement during Halloween time? Cause that's what it felt like. Or am I reading too much into it?

A: I mean, there were some choices at the Halloween Party itself, but minor ones. The majority of the choices were made in the dorms. That wasn't trying to lure people from the dorms with offers of delicious candy, but I'm sure Midgard wasn't unhappy with the results of the party.

Q: While we presently do not have access to the buried lab is it possible we can cull some secrets from the buried lab notebook so we're better equipped to hijack Midgard tech in the future?

A: It would not surprise me if that ended coming up again. I would not say you should toss it into the fire or anything, but may not come up for a while.

Q: On the topic of the buried lab was the machine we were fussing with the one associated with the holograms, or is that one in pieces because of last Halloween?

A: It was not the same exact machine. There is some buried stuff but obviously the technology was similar which should give some hints.

Q: The punks had a solid showing this Halloween which was nice to see. Is there a chance we might get be able to get them involved in the Christmas festivities?

A: I haven't done the Christmas stuff yet so that's possible.

Q: Where Christmas is on the way it feels fitting to ask if there's anything we're missing with the Nostalgic Toy Catalog?

A: I have not thought about that item in a while. Let's see, bricks, [hahahaha]. I had forgotten about [something]. It would not surprise me but I don't remember anything else there.

Q: Now that we can learn harness the power of white flakes to make incendiary grenades is it possible we'll be able to manufacture tracer rounds?

A: That is not entirely out of the question. Mechanically, tracer rounds are a little bit weird.

Q: Quivering steel produces some interesting equipment that sounds a little possessed. Are we missing anything interesting with relation to them possibly being haunted or is it just the flavor text being flavorful?


Q: We have an assortment of chains at our disposal and the chained ghoul appears quite proficient with chain related techniques. Is there some way we can steal its secrets?

A: I mean, there is a secret you can steal which is pretty chain related. I don't think the main chain technique is though. I have the art for it and it seems like the type of thing I would put in with the ghoul stuff.

Q: When using Fire techniques we have an assortment of options at chain positions 5 & 7. While quite powerful NitroX looks rather lonely as our only option at position 6. Have we missed some opportunities to harness the power of fire?

A: I'm pretty sure there is at least one more… I mean, there's Pyrophobia, but the rest are all NPC techniques.

Q: Season 20's arrival took most of us by surprise. Were you trying to make sure we had the abstract domino mask for Halloween?

A: I definitely wanted the mask in before Halloween. I thought that Halloween might have helped with the spading process, which I'm not sure it did, plus if I didn't get it in then, it wouldn't have been til mid November. Also trying to get back to seasons starting the middle of the month, every month. Hopefully in the 15-20th this month.

Q: There were the stories about Carol and other hints at mask-related Halloween goodness, but if there was something I don't think anybody found it. Will we have to wait for next Halloween now?

A: Not…. specifically.

Q: Just in general, why are there so many masks in this game?

A: To some degree, you can only have so many tophats and such. Masks are good for that slot. It's sort of representative of the nature of Eclipse and how I see Eclipse. There's so much of it about how you see things and how other people see you. Like how there are so many gaze techniques- the eyes and face are the gateway to the soul if you will.

Q: Is the coat of defensive circuitry the top-tier form of that item? Is there more to be found in the scribbled notes in its pockets or the special sites it unlocks?

A: Yeah, there's still an upgrade to be found.

Q: Can we actually turn people to sludge somehow with the anniversary pocket mirror?

A: Unless you have a separate technique that can turn people into sludge, I doubt it.

Q: When Novos is fully implemented, will there be a way to hack the Metros and get free rides?

A: There is something related to that that I've been planning to do for a long long time but still might be a long way off.

Q: Was the burning ectoplasm the thing that "does something, but is terrible" that would lead to a new skill, or were you hinting at something else?

A: Yeah, that was the idea. That's your problem, not being on fire enough.

Q: In another old hint, you talked about a skill involving "a new option to an old sidequest". Does having the skill unlock the new option, or do we have to find the new option to get the skill in the first place?

A: Man, I… pretty sure I meant the latter. There have bee a number of times when new content comes out that adds old options. Eg. Poltergeist Spark opened up a new option in that side quest, that sort of thing happens not infrequently. There are two like that that I can think of off the top of my head.

Q: I am itching to reset, but loath to walk away from all the flags I've set during weeks of post-run hacking. Are there more Novos-related skills to be found that would make me cry if I were to reset before they are discovered?

A: I would reset if I were you personally. There is still some undiscovered stuff though.

Q: I know people have fought the Midgard special officer with salvaging tools equipped many times, but not until just now has anybody gotten the corroded dermal plates. Was there some kind of longstanding bug that was keeping them from dropping, or is there a special condition that nobody had met until now?

A: Unless I… hm. It's possible I changed something when I did the revamp in there. I don't remember specifically changing anything but I am still in the post-Halloween haze. I know it could drop before.

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed the podcast and Halloween. Looking forward: started concept work on the next donation item ("how to I make this terrifying puzzle fit into a small space"), and some small projects lined up, and the rest of Novos stuff (which hasn't really been started at all so no timeline on that). Some new ideas for Christmas but if it comes down to getting the rest of Novos out or a same-y Chrismas it will be the former. If anything, I think people will like the next Novos section more than the last one.

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