Podcasts (2014)
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Podcast #34

Q: How was your Christmas? Any new books/etc. to share with us?

A: [Stayed in Columbus for the holidays. Japanese cooking. Books: the Hero of a Thousand Faces. Anime: Monster. …] Tried to do some server upgrades before Christmas but that was a catastrophe. I think it’s fixed now (but not in a moving forward way). Those things are never simple but it went way beyond what was expected.

Q: Any hints at mysterious snake snowmen we seem to have missed this year? Or will we just have to try again next time?

A: They will be there next year. Kind of funny. I was planning on having an arc of them but things got well, 'hey there’s things going on here' but not til the first actual unlock. But I was planning to have more stuff past there but didn’t end up getting to it because of the server thing.

Q: The Snowmonstrosity and Intertwined Serpents make you wait a round or two before you can start attacking them in earnest. Is that intentionally designed so we can set up some good chains in our hand, or just happen to be the way those puzzles turned out?

A: Yes to both? The puzzles are designed with the assumption that if you understand the puzzle and are doing it right, and part of that is that you’ll have a round or two to control your hand.

Q: Now that we are getting a lot more weapon subtypes in the game (knife, needlers, parasols, etc.), how would you feel about labeling them, for example "Type: Weapon (Needler)"? (Melee early in runs seems a lot more interesting now, by the way, with the new knife content.)

A: I’m not sure that you’ve actually found all of the new knife content. I don’t have any immediate plans to label those. The problem with labeling those is that it becomes kind of restricting because of the way it’s handled. I can more or less just put in whatever I want, eg. there are weapons in the real world which have an automatic switch so you can change between single shot or automatic weapons. If I wanted to have a weapon be automatic/rifle, I need to either code the subtypes very specifically or pick out the subtypes from the flags themselves, but… I think that I’m not sure there’s a ton to be gained since it should be pretty obvious.

Q: Was there anything specific that inspired the pictures of the four runes from the tablet shard?

A: Yes, although I’m not sure if I can tell you yet. There’s sort of a 'cycle', they’re representative of four qualities or lack-of-qualities and that plays into their function.

Q: Is is significant that the script Techniques are chains 4, 5, 5 and 6? Why not all 5?

A: Yesish? You will probably find why that’s significant but may take quite a bit of data. Not an accident. I guess it’s not super significant, not a big clue.

Q: And more questions about the official names for things: What do you call the tight hold ability of Writhing Masses and Ghostly Hands?

A: Constrict in the code, but Tight Hold is a fine term for it.

Q: What about the Evasion Avoidance from the Cut The Lights Fortification or Burrowing Arm technique?

A: I can’t say without revealing some of the secrets of it. I don’t think it’s actually been figured out and it’s sort of named that.

Q: Is there a generic term for the Impenetrable 'Armor' of Tin Soldiers, Smoke Dragon or Runic Hound?

A: Not really.

Q: What do you call the parts of the structure of combat? Informally, we've been calling everything that happens after you press Enter a "Round", which is composed of several "Passes". (Example: using two techniques in a chain = 2 passes.) Or is there even a name for these subrounds?

A: Passes is a better name because I use round for both of them. Passes sounds good.

Q: Art museum questions: Is there any kind of 'puzzle' in the upper level of the art museum? Skills to be found?

A: There’s not a huge single overarching puzzle up there like there is on the first floor. I’d like to go back through there and and some more content at some point.

Q: Is it possible to freeze the phoenix? I've tried using Frost Breath and the cold version of Pyrophobia with no luck so far. Barking up the wrong tree?

A: That seems as though it would be very challenging. It is sort of the iconic representation of fire.

Q: Is there a 'use' for the view of the Lonesome Quad from the second floor? (Also can I suggest that encounter have a new image for next Christmas? I didn't see any snow out the window there!)

A: When I go back through there there should be some more added.

Q: Does the Warehouse supervisor drop a Midgard hardhat now that it exists, and if not, can she?

A: Yes, she totally should. (Noted) It’s possible I already added that. (Warehouse Supervisor does drop the [[[Midgard hardhat now.)

Q: Do any of the following avatars exist: Punk, Cyberbowl player (Rams/Wildcats), Construction Worker or Mummy? That would be pretty neat!

A: Yes to your 'or', and there should be more once I get art.

Q: A new year is upon us, and you know what that means… Yes! It's time for the traditional New Year's Unearthly Item Spading Roundup! The year kicked off with the dancing hut figure. I feel like we're still missing something big here, and I dearly hope it's a Baba Yaga boss fight. Any hints on where to look?

A: Let’s see. Hehehe. I feel like most of that has been figured out. Spoiler alert: there is not a Baba Yaga boss fight there, though wouldn’t be adverse to it. She doesn’t appear physically in game at the moment.

Q: Next up is the designer vines. Seems like we got most of the way there on this, but there doesn't seem to be any reward for fighting the mold golems, which seems … suspicious.

A: That is mighty suspicious… I would also be looking for a reward there. (The Sunless Slime technique was later discovered.)

Q: April brought us the Book of Common Dreams. Is there a way to influence which dreams you get? The carnivorous beetle would be a handy thing in-run if you could ensure you had a good chance of getting it. I feel like we got all the content on this, but now's the time to say otherwise if I'm wrong.

A: I think you got all of the high level stuff on that. Most of the complexity is in the system it’s built around rather than the item you find. I will probably do a two-coin mirror image of that at some point now that the basics are sorted out.

Q: The anniversary of the game brought us the suitably momentous anniversary pocket mirror. It's cool because it's alive with possibilities as new weapons get added. But do you worry about the very open-ended nature of the reflection power crimping design space later on?

A: I’m not super worried about it. The way that I ended up coding it, I don’t think it will run into major problems. Before I went with the way it’s coded now (and may do something like this in the future), I considered giving bonuses based on type of weapon in main hand, which would have caused problems. Eg. forgetting to add new bonuses when new weapon types are added, which is why I switched the puzzle box powder pouring over to be more database-driven than hardcoded.

Q: With more Novos content came the coat of mysterious circuitry. You have already said there's another tier of this yet to be found. Any hints on how to get Roy to reveal his secrets?

A: He’s trying to tell you that you just need to have an open mind.

Q: Just in time for Halloween was the abstract domino mask. It seems like we have all the content from this, but the underlying mechanics are still opaque. Is it possible to guarantee a particular mask technique if you know what you are doing, or is there some randomness involved?

A: You should be able to get exactly what you want everyday. Well I shouldn’t say everyday but you should be able to predict at least. Don’t quote me on that that there’s no random factor but it’s more amounts than what you get.

Q: Finally we have the black tablet shard. Did this item begin life as a spin-off of the granddaddy of all unearthly items, the also-runic mysterious puzzle box? Either way, this one is new enough that spading is still ongoing. Don't let that stop you from dropping a hint if the spirit moves you, though. :) Cryptodynamic really went to town spading this. Is there anything left?

A: There is quite a bit in that item, as you can probably imagine. Yeah.

Q: By the time you read this you may already have complained, as you have in past years, that you made the older items so long ago that you don't remember details about them. Is there a better way to do a periodic unearthly item spading roundup than on the podcast?

A: I should really just… well here’s the deal. When you ask this question next year, fire me a message in-game, and I’ll look them up beforehand.

Q: What was causing the lag spikes we had been having before and for a little while after the new servers came online? How are the new servers working out now?

A: Actually we’ve rolled back to the old servers. But they seem to be doing fine. As far as the ones after the upgrade, there were some changes in database handling that played very poorly with how chat was structured, which was causing the database to hang for 10+ seconds, and it cascades from there. At some point I will upgrade in a more controlled fashion, on a table-by-table basis. Without the chat in there, should be okay. As a general rule, what we were changing to should have been much faster.

Q: Way back on podcast 14 (September 28th, 2010) you said there was no Stealth Power equivalent of the Gunslinger, Pugilism, Third Eye Technique, and Pyro skills, but that you might add one eventually. Did you ever do that? Is it gettable now?

A: I thought I had? Thought I had and it wasn’t too weird? Hm. Oh, nope, I should still add that.

Q: Speaking of ancient history, a long time ago (February, 2009) Vholes reported learning the recipes for liquified Eclipse and Slags antidote from the Testing Lab in Midgard Biotech. Subsequent attempts to find them have not met with success. Were those recipes put there before you coded up Experimental Chemistry and then removed later? What's the story there?

A: I believe those are still available, you just have to have the right set of flags. Don’t 100% quote me on that. [Checks.] Hm. I am seeing a non-experimental way to get those, but I don’t think it’s what you’re referring too. I’m curious now. I’m not seeing that anywhere at the moment. I feel like it’s still in there but don’t quote me on that.

Q: I was reading the newspaper recently and did a double-take when I realized that the "Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area" is informally known as "The Metroplex". Did you know there was a real-life Metroplex already?

A: It’s a common enough term, just use it as a stand-in for "the City". Like how Zaibatsu is Zaibatsu.

Q: In other disturbing reality/Metroplexity crossover news, there has been a lot of hoopla recently about the possibility that Amazon will use drones to deliver orders in the near-ish future. Amazon = Omnitech?

A: It would not surprise me if Amazon was eventually the ones that took over all western business. I still have my money on Walmart.

Q: Unless something drastic happens between me writing this question and the end of the year, no major city has been destroyed by fire in 2013. Are you planning to revise the description of the holocaust coat, or is Metroplexity set in an alternate universe that diverges from our timeline during (or before) 2013?

A: I am perfectly content with Metroplexity set in an alternate timeline. I might remove the year because the 'joke' is timeless.

Q: Why can you mark a gang as private? If a gang has clones and control of a zone, shouldn't the rest of the community know who they are (and what they're wearing)?

A: I suppose it’s a little weird that you can have control without showing it. I’m just a very… well yeah. Didn’t really think about that so much the gang warfare part of things so much as the community part of things? I also have enough of a love for secret societies that I’m okay with that.

Q: Is it reasonable to assume that our character is at least born by the year 2013?

A: To the extent that the word 'birth' even applies to the character, not really. The penciled-in date that applies to Metroplexity is 50-60 years in the future in general, adjusted if we start having orbital wars. So people like Lo or maybe Hel probably born before 2013. Haven’t met a ton of them. Also, Larry probably.

Q: Why does the Abstract Domino Mask hate ghosts? Ghosts and snowmen.

A: It’s not racist against ghosts and snowmen, there’s a separate conditional going on there.

Q: Speaking of snowmen, that's the third year we've fought the snowmostrosity. Is there something about the Frozen Heart you really, really trying to hammer into our heads to find. Or, I dunno, some other ulterior motive you have to repeatedly bringing out that boss?

A: I kind of like that people have some options to defeat bosses like that, they don’t just go away forever. (Except for Halloween stuff cause I’m a jerk.) Might be time to send the Snowmonstrosity off to pasture.

Q: Now that we've managed to get all the major success results from the sober encounters of the HKGames helmet, can we get something new out of the helmet? I recall you saying there's at least one more hidden thing in the helmet outside of the etheric encounters.

A: There is one quite major hidden thing. It’s quite puzzly though. I’m trying to remember if it occurs within the Etheric encoutners, I don’t think it does. Within the physical space. You’ll definitely know it when you see it though.

Q: From the Mutant Cell Culture, it's use result is very suspicious. "All in all, it's way more interesting than an ant farm, but you don't feel like you've gotten to the bottom of this." How major is the secret hiding behind the mutant cell culture? What kind of results have we not gotten out of it?

A: That is actually a reference to something I should put back into the game at some point. Before recipes existed in crafting, there were a series of combinations of ingredients involving the mutant cell culture and related stuff that gave you some XP. So not earth shattering. I think they were discovered but no one really used them a lot. There’s quite a bit of stuff hiding in that content so I’m okay with the hint still there. I should add some 'experimental only' flag and put those back in so you can’t actually learn the recipe. (Some new interactions were discovered after this podcast, but not clear whether Kinak added them in response to this question.)

Q: The Venomous Angel has the ability to give an additional +1 bonus XP when combined with Serpent Venom. This seems like a very random bit of synergy! Is there more to this item? How deep does its fungal tendrils go into the inner workings of Metroplexity?

A: There are some other effects from that.

Q: On that same vein, you said we've figured out half of what makes one of these items—Toxic Eyeball, Toxic Crystal, Venomous Angel—interesting. Something that'll send reverberations to other pretty much ignored content. But, it seems the only thing we've found so far is that +1 bonus XP from the angel. Were you referring to something else separate but connected to these items? Cause it's hard to see how that +1 XP is half of the puzzle.

A: I feel like, I wasn’t referring to the +1 XP, I was referring to something else. I think the XP is interesting, but I don’t remember answering that question. I didn’t know that you had found the XP until I read the previous question here.

Q: Does defending a gang warfare area with clones contribute to getting any avatars?

A: I am fairly certain that it doesn’t. Or at least, most of them? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t.

Q: Do mid-combat effects like Broken Bone or Curse of the Mummy start applying immediately (opposing techniques), the same round (subsequent techniques in the chain), or not until the next round?

A: It depends a little bit on when they’re applied. Basically, they should kick in 'right in', but that is relative to when they actually get kicked in. It’s possible for an effect like that to be applied, either with damage or before the attack is really started. Eg. broken bone. If someone is trying to break your bones and you dodge and it doesn’t do any damage to you, it doesn’t make sense for him to break your bones.

Q: How are microrockets launched? Do you have to launch them from a gun? Mount one to your wrist? Or are they basically guided hand grenades? Could we improvise our own microrockets from scratch with existing electronics?

A: It would be pretty challenging to build your own. Pretty high end stuff. More or less, just point and press button. Like disposable flares.

Q: Rasping teeth is gained from dodging the Square Maw and Hoop Jump from killing it. But wouldn't the other way around make more sense? Any comment?

A: I feel like… man. No comment, I guess. I’d need to reacquaint myself with it.

Q: Any chance of a preferences option to disable keyboard shortcuts? I lost a fight by trying to answer a question in chat and typing "500" and hitting the enter button, but I forgot to select the chat box, so I ended up launching a one-technique chain that got me eaten by a square maw. :(

A: Haha. I am only laughing a little bit at your suffering. At this time there’s no plan to do that but if enough ask, I suppose I could. I hate options. Adds a lot of complexity to the code. Greasemonkey might help.

Q: Did you know is "nitrox" is an actual chemical term? It describes any mixture of nitrogen and oxygen, including air. Does the item NitroX represent something in the real world as well?

A: Not entirely. It’s basically nitroglycerin with a bit of extra juice in it.

Q: Norse mythology but only a few axes? I count only two items with "axe" in their name. Where is the viking goodness?!

A: I actually don’t honestly know how much they used axes. They show up in a lot of barbarian fantasy art. You see hammers and spears. In world, you’ll probably only run into tool-axes. Swords are in the public psyche, thanks to Zaibatsu and fencing.

Q: Why doesn't the happy hour have security? Bouncers, Midgard security, private contractors, etc. You'd think they'd want to avoid a rich couple's precious kid getting cut open in the all-too common brawls here.

A: They probably should have some enforcement when you start roughing up dancers, but for the most part, people just run away from brawls.

Q: When you talk to the art student in the Happy Hour, one of his responses includes the line:

He waits for a moment, staring past your shoulder at something going on in the kitchen. "Those trash things man, I tell you. Not sanitary."

Which implies that there's another section of the Happy Hour we've not been able to get into, and also that they serve food. Any chance we'll ever get to poke around back there, maybe steal/beg/buy some food?

A: It wouldn’t make a bad choice encounter, but I’d be surprised if that kitchen is big enough to make a whole area. Typical bar food, hamburgers & fries, etc.

Q: Also related to the above quote, do hipsters take so much eclipse that seeing piles of trash walking around just isn't something to get excited about anymore?

A: I mean, there’s sort of an interesting division there. Some of them clearly recognize that there’s some weird shit going on (beyond just tripping), but hallucinating about the garbage moving around isn’t really cause for alarm except for the garbage itself. They aren’t really clear on what fully is going on. They are at very different levels of it, eg. when you fight hipsters, they don’t use Evil Eye on you, so there’s a big chuck of it that they’re missing for reasons which may or may not become clear in time. They haven’t done the sort of experiments that the character has done, eg. finding trash hearts and then still having it when sober.

Q: Is there a way to increase the chance of getting the Runic Orb, as opposed to the Runic Hound or Runic Spider, and still be in a position to defeat it? It seems like it's possible to control which one of the latter two you get (or the RNG was just messing with me), and it's unpleasant to run into the wrong opponent, since they all require different setups.

A: There are certainly ways to guarantee that you don’t get the orb. There might be a way to make it more likely. [checks.] Might be pretty hard to guarantee and still be a in position to defeat. You’ll want to fight a mix of them regardless so I’m not to worried. If it’s irritating you it’s because you haven’t figured out the full set of flags yet.

Q: Perhaps piggybacking off Crypto here, the Apple Pie was not supposed to be a rare item, but it's slowly turning into one. Any news on how far down the line Cookery is? (Novos, Old Town, possibly some new weapons updates…)

A: I expect after Oldtown, so quite a while.

Q: I forget if I asked this before, but is there a way into the second warehouse on the docks? We seem to have access through the sewers for the third and fourth, so it seems odd there's no access to the second.

A: You don’t have sewer access to the first… There are some places that are just blanks for me to put content in later.

Q: -Does it matter if we use the sewer maps instead of exploring the sewers manually? It seems like it shouldn't 'really', but at the same time, a map is a lot more conclusive than a glance, even a handmade map. Ie, is there a hidden variable set for using the maps, and can we trigger it later?

A: Using the maps is fine. You can use a mix even if you want. No deep effect there.

Q: We still haven't figured out the cycle in the art gallery. Any advice? Beyond cycles. If you tell us our cycle needs a cycle there's going to be rioting. On bicycles.

A: Well, in the art gallery, there is a, uh, cycle of important items, one of which you think you have but you don’t. I think that’s where part of the problem has cropped up. Looking over the items, there is an incomplete cycle there. Look carefully.

Q: As for things triggering later, we've tried a lot of things for triggering the Spider Nest. Fire doesn't do it, binding it doesn't do it, doing overwhelming damage doesn't do it, nothing obvious seems to contribute. Can we get a hint as to how we're looking at spider extermination from the wrong direction?

A: [checks] I am really not sure why that is bothering you. It’s just not very hard. To the extent that I’m thinking it must be broken but I’m staring at it and I don’t see how it could be, not a lot of moving parts there. [checks more] Hm, seems straight forward. I might test that later.

Q: You mentioned that some kind of flag is set when you actually check the building before climbing it, but we've never found anything that contributes to. Is it secret, hidden, or are we just missing it blatantly?

A: I don’t think it’s anything that is deeply relevant. No sweet skill unlock.

Q: The spiderwebbed building in the slags is still suspicious. It's almost strange that we can't find any way into the wreckage. Comments?

A: There’s nothing programmed in there, might be at some point.

Q: I am disappointed to say the Squatter King's Son doesn't respond to holding him down while holding the kingly blade, nor when encountering him after freeing him. Shouldn't he recognize it? (Might try talking to him after next run, see if there's anything like Boris' response to the lab PDA)

A: He does not respond to that at present. I guess I could make him respond to it.

Q: Why do we need to learn a copy of Evil Eye in order to finish the southside evil quest? (Noticed that for Boundless Patience)

A: You don’t. I guess I should say there are ways to complete that require Evil Eye but getting Boundless Patience is not one of them. I think all the skills from that have been uncovered but I hold the right to reveal more later.

Q: Finally, what can we do to spread the ghouls? We've got the mirror ghoul, which seems like a non-sequitur, we've got the Squatter's Refuge of ghouls, but I can't duplicate the encounter I had in the Midgard Warehouse with ghouls. (Seemed to involved blowing out the windows (Explosives/Jumping out the windows), and then a lot of collateral deaths, but still no other progress.) Advice?

A: Well you can’t get the Ghouls to take over the whole city if that’s what you’re asking. But there are a few ghoul encounters here and there.

New unearthly item coming in briefly, along with other unearthly items and the rest of Novos, etc.

Podcast #35

Q: Hi Kinak. How are you?

A: Good. Puyo back from Japan, Lyz working with Paizo (Pathfinder). Kinak — in a bit of a rut but getting better. Watching too much anime/manga.

Q: Status update on Novos, unearthly items, or anything else in the pipe?

A: Next unearthly item is being worked on (art done a while ago). Going to be a lot of fun. Also preparing to update the Midgard Player, since that will be coming back with this rotation. Still working on Novos stuff.

Q: Museum questions!
When you say "hid more masks in the museum", does that imply that some mask items were available from the start? Why did the update text change there?

A: The update text was because I realized there wasn't any immediately obvious change, so I wanted to make it clear that something had changed. Just to make it clear that I didn't eg. fail to push the update.

Q: The runes on the tablet in the museum look suspiciously like the mysterious puzzle box, and the Runic Orb seems to use Blood of the Ancients. Is there a connection between these items?

A: Seems like a fair bet. There's quite a bit of interplay there (not mechanically, but story-wise). If you dig into the tablet some, I think you'll find some interesting implications there. The danger of story implications is that they're not really stuff you can test out.

Q: Is there any kind of garotte technique we can learn from the yellow lace (or electrical wires)?

A: I don't… believe so. At least not strictly garotte.

Q: Is there any way to snag a piece of the Painted Woman's umbrella? (ie. the reverse of what she does to us — Using Binding Words on her didn't seem to work.)

A: Not a half bad idea, but not at present.

Q: Is there any tangible reward from killing the painted sky, (other than resetting the star colour, if that's how that works?)?

A: I wouldn't say there's anything for just killing the painted sky. There's always the possibility that there might be some additional trigger that's required. (Possible reference to paint injector and Whispers from the Stars?)

Q: Avatar questions!
Avatar unlocks are generally not very well known, but it seems that some require persistence and some require meeting a specific tricky set of circumstances. Would you recommend trying the former or the latter strategy to find more new stuff?

A: The thing with the avatars that makes them especially tricky is that they require both, or require a set of circumstances and some luck, which ends up playing out like persistence… But for the most part, it's not just like, 'win a pvp fight in this outfit'. I guess some of the ones tied to unearthly items are more puzzly, but the normal ones tend to involve equal parts persistence and circumstance. Some circumstances are… pretty difficult though. And they obviously vary from very easy to near-impossible.

Q: A week of pvp with the wolfbelt hasn't given any avatars, including infecting a bunch of people and doing a full moon cycle in pvp. Any hints there?

A: Not 100% sure there even is a wolf one. [hehehe] Yes, it is a thing that does exist. Hm. Now the question is where I hid it. [hahahhahahahahaha] You're not on a bad track, you just sort of might need some persistence, or some focus and persistence. It's a pretty conniving one. It would be difficult to get by accident. I don't believe it specifically requires pvp. A lot of the unearthly ones don't require pvp, but that doesn't say that none of them do. In any case, you wouldn't have any problem getting it in pvp anyway.

Q: There are basic Melee, Ranged, Etheric and Fire avatars but no Stealth one discovered so far…something to look into?

A: I have never implemented the stealth avatar because there are contradictions…what does a stealthy person look like? Like anyone or nothing. So I guess, at some point I'll decide on it and mention something. (There is now a stealth avatar.)

Q: Other questions!
For all the rush in completing the dorms last halloween, the "finishing touches" been going on for a while now. Will we see the completed dorms soon?

A: I would not be surprised if you see those in the near future.

Q: Now that the First Floor is working the way you intended all along, it's very hard to get the Unleash Spider technique due to a shortage of Spider Drones/Horrific Spiders. Do you plan on opening up the webbed building or otherwise providing a new source of bindable spiders anytime soon?

A: Not particularly. There are some ways to get more of them than I think people realize. But no particular rush on the webbed building.

Q: Thanks for the knife update. I notice there are a fair number of gaps in the Items by ID right around the knives from it. Are there a whole bunch more new knives we somehow missed?

A: There were 3-4 knives added with the update, I think you've found at least some of them? That was in the middle of a lot of other content going in so there might be other stuff (eg. Christmas).

Q: So far we have found an effect (Runic Contemplation) that the Shard of Language skill unlocks. Is there more that it does?

A: Yeah, there's a bunch of stuff. It's kind of neat. Well, I shouldn't say a bunch of stuff like the painting skill.

Q: How much more do we have yet to discover about the black tablet shard?

A: I mean, there's still quite a bit of how the pieces fit together, but the main content there's only a couple things left.

Q: Clever players have demonstrated their mastery of the coat of mysterious circuitry by finding the avatar associated with it, but we still haven't found its top-tier form. Are you surprised things happened in this order? Any hints on upgrading to the coat's ultimate form?

A: I guess I'm not super surprised that it came in that order. They are different kinds of hard, but equally hard. Getting the avatar is difficult but doesn't take a huge leap to get to it, whereas the final upgrade might require some more mental gymnastics.

Q: We haven't found any special use for the painted dress yet. Are we missing something important there?

A: I wouldn't say anything important.

Q: Have we now found everything we need in the Hall of Paintings to be able to find the special Halloween-only content the Tattooed Man was hinting at?

A: That isn't necessarily Halloween only, though I wouldn't be surprised if Halloween is the time of his return. But yeah, you have the appropriate pieces now. I don't have to hold back on him anymore because there were pieces missing.

Q: Even though protein analyzing the Petrol Sludge produces 'the same stuff as the eclipse sample' we can't mention it to Lo. Is there a reason for that, or is it just because Lo's turn-ins are otherwise items?

A: I feel that it wouldn't advance the quest which would be confusing. It's an interesting question that it raises, what exactly is contaminating the lake? But doesn't really get to the central question that he's getting at.

Q: Are you still friends with Twitch? Tell him PaidPiedPiperPal is forcing him to play Metroplexity again with a twitch controller.

A: I haven't talked to Twitch in a while. I'm remarkably bad at keeping in touch with people. […]

Q: Is there anything hidden with the First Person Shooter game in the computer lab?

A: There certainly isn't as much as the rhythm game or fishing game. It would be kind of nice to go back in there are add some more stuff.

Q: Does Midgard have any people/projects/etc. codenamed either Ragnarok or Fimbulwinter?

A: I don't believe a Filbulwinter, but they do definitely have a Ragnarok. As a general rule of thumb, people will get the proper names of people, and projects will get named after places, groups, people, creatures, etc. There's some blurring there.

Q: Have you given any more thought to additional minor holidays, perhaps something to fill out the spring? Something based on Walpurgisnacht seems like it might be thematically appropriate, even if the people of Metroplex don't celebrate it themselves.

A: I would like to get another spring holiday in. Don't quote me on this, but it would probably be a Orbital-Wars-veterans-day.

Q: Looking at item IDs we haven't identified yet… is there anything special about item 666?

A: You need something special for item 666?

Q: Is there any part of the game that you'd say we've been ignoring, but has some interesting secrets lurking in it?

A: I wouldn't say anything completely ignored per se. There's certainly some stuff that's hardest to find in general is places where there's an overlap between two parts of the game, eg. pvp+combat or pvp+hacking or crazy-etheric-stuff+hacking, etc. And those tend to get missed as people section things off. Understandable as you cut down the number of variables to a manageable number.

Q: With the discovery of Whispers from the Stars on top of all the other injector skills, is there any substance that isn't a good idea to inject into yourself and electrify?

A: If there is, I haven't seen it yet. I should go back and add [something we haven't found].

Q: Now that we don't have any offensive techs in our decks initially could you implement some sort of reminder to go in there and change stuff. It would help a run to not die to insane bums first turn in a run. Or at least a non 0 percent chance of running away. More of a request then a question I know.

A: If… you're not getting the normal default techniques at the start of the run, let me know what the deck was at the end of last run. There's some stuff that it sort of tries to carry across.

Q: Are there more items like the painted parasol that transform based on what we and our opponents do?

A: There's a couple with Christmas that have been found, and a couple others floating around. And some other things like boosted attack or short duration buffs.

Q: I really liked that we were able to get a skill through a neural chip back with hacking. Really good flavor, very matrix and such. Do you plan to add new skills like that in the future?

A: Yeah, very much. Probably be one with Novos soon.

Q: Mag already asked about the upgraded form of the coat of mysterious circuitry, but don't worry I have a few related questions: The Gothic Guardian and coat both responding to drunkenness made me notice we lack booze that packs a punch. Will we be able to use our chemistry skills at some point to create more potent potables?

A: I would not be surprised if there was some distillation in your future. Eg. vodka+vodka=delicious vodka. I would hesitate to include any mixology so to speak.

Q: The Swirling Circuitry technique responds to sight link, but I haven't seen anything respond to it on the Gothic Ruins Net. Is there another little bit lurking about with the sight link?

A: In general, I would only expect to find sight-link stuff to show up where meatspace in interacting with hacking, so if you're in an actual Novos encounter, I would be surprised to see it there.

Q: Following the last hint you gave in a previous podcast for the coat I ended up stumbling upon the interaction between the Pale Swordsman and a neural link. It feels like I'm missing something important. Is there another piece missing?

A: I mean, there's sort of puzzles within enigmas within…

Q: Still on the topic of the neural link. Just how dangerous can a neural link be for normal people?

A: It depends a lot on the quality of the chips and the link. Obviously with a shitty link you can fry yourself pretty easily. As far as the actual dangers, if you're using chips from a trusted source, you're basically fine. Sort of like alcohol, as long as you're not drinking moonshine from out in the shed; also moderation. […]

Q: Out of curiosity have we found everything pertaining to the Rag Man's cape? I find the Rag Man interesting so I wouldn't mind having a little more tucked away.

A: There aren't a couple interactions that haven't been found, because the things it interacts with hasn't been found.

Podcast #36

Q: I'm excited and impressed about all the progress towards full Novos implementation. Yay Novos!

A: I'm excited too. Moving along nicely. Slowly improving processes here, improving time management skills (never really had much practice at it).

Q: One of the few oldos-only things that I can think of that's still unconverted is the Lotus Map skill. Will you be making that Novos-compatible before the full Novos rollout, or will it go in with the Novos Net?

A: The "net" as it were is getting parceled out, eg. blogs on university. Finding targets per area. Won't be static like the net was going to be in Oldos. Would have started to get weird once Oldtown and beyond got added since you'll get better stuff, and then would have to improve the net rewards… To answer your question, the Lotus Map skill will definitely be available. The last step is to retire the Oldos stuff.

Q: How far out is the full Novos rollout? Will oldos programs stop working then, or will they persist for a while yet?

A: I guess the point where pretty much everything is duplicated is not that far off. Guessing before Metroplex Day? The old stuff will stop working when there isn't anywhere to use it.

Q: Is there currently a way not to find the deeper Novos syntax baffling?

A: Is there currently a way to make the deeper novos syntax baffling. Either because not implemented or need stuff in further updates.

Q: Any particular reason for all the weapon updates? I figure the axe thing was to set up the Stainless Skulls axe. (Thanks for the berserkergang, btw!) Anything special coming up with spears and/or rifles, or were you just working through suggestions from past podcasts — in-game metal, etc.?

A: It has been a mix. Spears were your suggestion I think. Not sure if anyone suggested rifles. Updated had be weighted towards melee. And yes the in-game metal was a podcast suggestion. Some is more related to stuff coming out, some podcast suggestions. The weapon categories has kind of been the roll I've been on.

Q: Are there any major mushroom-related discoveries waiting to be made?

A: There is at least one that leaps to mind. It's sort of two found together. Other than those two, I'm not sure if there's there's anything important. Maybe a couple other minor interactions.

Q: We know of a bunch of skills that seem to stand alone, not part of a mutually exclusive skill group. Is this appearance deceptive? Are any of these skills mutually exclusive with other skills we have yet to discover? For reference, the skills I'm thinking of are: Chess, Drone Anatomy, Experienced Observer, Experimental Chemistry, Expert Salvager, Fishing, Lotus Map, On The Prowl, Programmed Terror, Quantum Mechanics, Sushi Chef, and Trauma Tech. Simple Coding seems to be a prerequisite for Efficient Hacking and Handscripting, but these skills aren't mutually exclusive.

A: Most of those skills are not mutually exclusive. But not all, at least one is mutually exclusive. (Drone Anatomy is mutually exclusive with the then-undiscovered Drone Electronics skill.)

Q: For the something we're missing in the fiery lakes of the Charnel House, can we get it in both the opened and reopened versions?

A: I believe so, yes. Or at least there's something missing you can do in both.

Q: Is it possible to upgrade the advanced Midgard Player seeds through Novos-formatted sites?

A: Yeah you should be able to.

Q: The "Returning Dorm" text has been around for a while. Is that part of a content update you haven't been able to push yet?

A: I wouldn't say haven't be able to, I just haven't.

Q: Will the buried lab notebook have any potential use in the future?

A: It's possible. Doesn't currently do a whole lot.

Q: Have all of the cyberware items been found?

A: That's an interesting question. I feel like there's still one missing. Or maybe you found it but haven't figured out what to do with it. But I think it's missing.

Q: Does the ancient underwater city in lake metroplex actually disappear when you kill the ocean king? it stops appearing as an encounter.

A: I don't think it explicitly does either. I feel like even the encounter from the oil slick explicitly says. Don't think there's a canonical answer. Story-wise, probably shouldn't go away.

Q: What do you think about the ever increasing availability of stackable buffs to power and such? On a related note, once oldtown comes out can we expect equipment with bonuses larger then 10? Or would you prefer they simply grant better combined bonuses and effects?

A: The stackable buffs thing — it's not something that really bothers me. Might have to do something about it eventually. Equipment bonuses will probably increase once Oldtown comes out. I wouldn't necessarily expect a new best axe when oldtown comes out just cause a lot of the stuff available in the slags is not something immediately available, it takes a lot of effort eg. the twisting blade. Polysteel:Steel::Steel:Oldtown stuff.

Q: May we know the fate of subversion in novos?

A: No, but not because I'm holding out on you. I do like subversion a lot and think it's cool and good for the game. I'm not 100% sure what it will look like in Novos. The rewards will have to be available and existing rewards will have to be updated (though a lot of them haven't been spaded). The tricky part is really just making sure that it's not something people stab themselves in the face with. I think that some of the changes with Novos will probably make that less terrible.

Q: May the fork be with you. […] May we have some forks? We have knives, but no forks or spoons. Or sporks.

A: I would not be surprised to find forks somewhere. Maybe spoons. Not a high priority.

Q: Unexpected Grab is "more effective against humans and others you know the weaknesses of". I have yet to find any "others" though - is there some way to learn the weaknesses of weird etheric creatures?

A: That is a bit of weasel language in case there need to be any exceptions in there. I wouldn't necessary expect to find something odd there, but if I slip in new stuff that is kind of humanish, it might apply.

Q: Are there more spear/rifle/scope/garotte/axe techniques or interactions to be found?

A: Uh, yeah, quite a few actually. I put quite a bit of spear stuff in there and it took days to be found.

Q: Will we ever get to meet Roy?

A: It's a possibility. Certainly interesting.

Q: Can we convince Andrea (or some other grad student) to write a thesis on the relationship between etheric phenomena and video recordings? There are some oddities there that *I* want to investigate at least…

A: It is a very interesting intellectual space. There is a consistency there that may not be apparent. I guess if you found a film-studies major, maybe? You'd have to find a professor that both thinks there's something behind the etheric phenomena and one of their students to actually do the thesis. Andrea's actually one of your best bets since she's related to a faculty member who thinks there's something odd going on.

Q: All of the types of music except for the "misc" category seem to have a special result with the Stainless skulls helmet (giving an item or effect). Is there something special to be gained there?

A: Does certainly seem like a weird oversight….

Q: Now that we've found the alternate black tablet shard forms, is there more to the Shard Of Language skill?

A: I remember burying quite a bit of stuff there, not necessarily behind the skill, but probably more.

Q: Is there a "protects eyes" flag on some headgear or is that a function of other bonuses on it? (It looked like at first any headgear with negative perception protects you from the disco ball but there seem to be some exceptions.)

A: As you seem to have gathered, there is a separate categorization there so that eg. polarized lenses would protect you but no make it harder to see.

Q: Would you ever consider a mushroom alternative to coin fishing for the sewers? Perhaps flipping a coin disturbs some bats that later draw your attention to some mushrooms.

A: I understand the desire to get some more sweet mushrooms but unlikely to get some interactions with the unearthly coin.

Q: Why is Matsuo so awesome?

A: Classic campy samurai that really makes me happy.

Q: Are we missing anything particularly neat related to Channeling Matsuo?

A: Oh yeah. (The Demonslaying Blade technique has since been found, but that may not be all.)

Q: Was there some particular inspiration behind Idol Metal?

A: Yes actually. That is one of the handful of more-or-less real-world references in Metroplexity. The whole idol scene is something I find very fascinating. It's a colossal machine. See "Babymetal".

Q: Should we expect to find ourselves cursing at Zaibatsu's Justice as Novos continues to roll out?

A: Yes Zaibatsu are dicks. Zaibatsu doesn't really care if you go around killing people but they are definitely not fans of intellectual property theft.

Q: How come the Floating Masks never show up when I have the Vigilante's mask equipped? Are they afraid… of JUSTICE?!?!?!

A: I think they should show up. Let me check… Oops, okay they should show up now.

Q: With Al's discovery of the yellowed lace garrotte, my hopes and dreams lay dead and buried. Do you have any last words you'd like to say for them?

A: They're very dear to my heart.

Q: Is there some sort of earthly unknown skill by character could learn now if he knew what to do?

A: Yeah, there are several. Some are mutually exclusive. I'm trying to think if there are any undiscovered that aren't mutually exclusive with anything else. Possibly. One.

Q: Before you said there wasn't anything special left to find in the mutant cell culture. Since then I have found another result in it where you can control it with your mind. The oils at least. Is there anything important left to find with the sewer mutants in general?

A: I really like the sewer mutants in general. Added to list of stuff to work on. There are a lot of interactions, not sure exactly what you've found so far.

Q: I have recently tried infecting the ghoul king with writhing flesh because I noticed in PvP if you eat someone with writhing flesh you get it too. This failed. What also failed was binding the ghoul king with binding words and quite a few other things besides. How super creative is this Easter Egg skill solution that I just can't think of it?

A: I wouldn't really say it's super creative. Binding words is a pretty good answer. Binding words is probably a better answer than what I put in there.

Q: The latest find from the scuffed mining helmet is from Vholes Piper with the new technique Pale Summons. Are there more techniques to be found? Is item #1711 related to the scuffed mining helmet content?

A: I have the items table open so I can check… no, no it is not related. I can't immediately tell you how many techniques there are there.

Q: I like the holosight rifle so I need to ask. Is there an avatar related to this weapon? Is it as tricky to find as the wolf skin belt avatar?

A: I feel like there's not an avatar directly related to that weapon. Oh man there are so many slick avatars. I think there is not one directly related there, so it's possible it's even tricker to find than the wolfbelt avatar.

Up next: little updates here and there, along with the obvious Novos stuff. And another unearthly item coming out in not too long. Not the exact item I designed super early on, but close. One of the first pieces of art that Puyo did was what became the Midgard Player and one of the other unearthly items came inspired this. Things doing quite well, which makes me happy.

Podcast #37

Status update on things coming up? Is mid-August still a reasonable guess for Novos?

A: (Most of Novos is ready to roll out, just depends on how much new stuff still needs to be added. Some testing and debugging too. So yeah, mid-August seems about right but could really happen anytime.

Q: Eight of the 13 stories in the Scary Storybook have hidden extra messages (that we know of). Do all of them have a hidden stuff we can find? Were any added after the fact?

A: Don't believe any were added after the fact though there are times when people will point out things that should interact. With the storybooks I haven't made a point to hide something in each of the stories (which isn't to say there isn't something in each of them) but I wouldn't expect that level of parallelism.

Q: The name "Leandra Silver" was mentioned by a blogger on Channel 2 Rachel news back in 2011 — and I don't think we've heard of her again. Relation to Silver Towers?

A: Yeah, she is part of the Silver family that owns the corporation that owns the Silver Towers, along with some other stuff you will see coming up. She is also relevant for another reason but may not be mentioned by name. Minor connection.

Q: Does the virtual pet bass minigame have a "reward" or is it something nifty to play with?

A: Primarily something nifty to play with. No skill or avatar at the end.

Q: When metal music plays at the Happy Hour, some new people join the dance floor "who look like they just came from the gym by way of an overpriced clothing store". Is there anyway to see/meet/fight these guys? It looks like we can only steal their trendy caps randomly from the crowd.

A: I should make a note to request some art for that because I would personally like kicking them in the shins.

[Side note: Puyo has a good friend from Japan visiting so not sure how much time Puyo will have for art…maybe slight slowdown. Donation item for this month and hacking items are set for art but possibly delays down the road.]

Q: This charmed chain came out recently so don't want to ask too much about it but a few questions: Was the charmed chain the item that you had planned out a looong time ago?

A: Yeah actually it ended up being a merger of two of the earliest item of the month ideas, some of which has shown up in other ways too.

Q: Will SD1s show up more frequently in Oldtown? With the change to the first floor spider nest bug, they now seem really hard to find.

A: There actually is actually a not super difficult way to get them repeatedly now, just one of those that perhaps people haven't found it yet. But yeah there's a whole line of Midgard spider drones and safe to assume they will be showing up down the line.

Q: The Snapping Chains is an oddity… anything else to discover from the chain while sober?

A: There's quite a bit of stuff going on with the chain and techniques. I think the techniques themselves have all been found.

Q: Also, on the topic of Snapping Chain, you seem to get fewer copies of it the more stealth power you have. Is that supposed to work that way? It looks like this:
0 Stealth Power = 0 copies
1 Stealth Power = 4 copies
2 Stealth Power = 4 copies
3 Stealth Power = 3 copies
4 Stealth Power = 3 copies
5 Stealth Power = 2 copies
6 Stealth Power = 2 copies
8 Stealth Power = 1 copies
9 Stealth Power = 0 copies

A: That looks like the opposite of how that's supposed to work. [now fixed]

Q: A while back, Vholes suggested interactions between the baseball bats and monstrous pinata. Is there something to look for there?

A: I feel like that did get added? Yes, I remember yes, adding some stuff.

Q: Stun Resistance went in over 4 years ago but we haven't seen any more stun resistance items since. Is that something to consider and will we ever see above "Slightly improved" stun resistance?

A: Yeah, I put that in and then more or less forgot about in between when it got pushed out/discovered. So for quite a while I wasn't aware that it was in the game. There's actually a lot of stuff in the code for hooks for future mechanics that haven't gotten used. What I would like to do before doing anything more with stun resistance is figure out how I want to display it in the actual combat. Right now the way it works is you don't get stunned but there is no indication that that it worked. If pvp or opponent has stun resistance it's not clear why it's not working. That's the main hurdle and after that probably more stun resistance for you and opponents.

Q: Any hints as to what the strange song technique from deep hunter does? (other than mysteriously taunt us?!)

A: Naw, I'm good.

Q: Who (or possibly what) would you say is your favorite character in the game so far?

A: For people appearing on screen- it sort of changes over time. I really like Suzy Sothrane. I kind of like Lo since he takes my approach to problems (beat them down with science). As far as people who have been mentioned, probably Lo's old boss when we was in Special Projects has been pretty consistent. There's a lot of getting into his head which sticks.

Q: Can we have a hint about some secret we haven't discovered about that character?

A: People have found out probably everything about Sothrane. Should probably add an option to talk to her about Yggdrasil. Don't think there's anything more to discover with her in game per se. Some things she talks about interactions in the museum on the story side of things. For Lo's boss, there's a lot of things that hooks into him. The biggest is what all hooks in there, but again not really a mechanical thing per se. Just a story question. I also really appreciate Hel. I don't typically allow myself a lot of complete bad-asses and she is one of them. Doesn't come up a lot in the storyline because she is so paranoid. [15:00]

Q: Is it currently possible to find a polysteel extruder or temperer anywhere?

A: No. More advanced types of polysteel will show up in advanced ways in Oldtown, Downtown, etc.

Q: In this incarnation I spent many days and much Body getting all (?) the messages from the shaman's brew. I am a little afraid to reset for fear of having gotten close to unlocking something cool but not made it all the way. Should I be worrying about this?

A: I wouldn't? Sometimes you just have to take a leap. For all you know, there's something cool for if you have seem them all in a previous incarnation. (I don't think I'm quite that evil but you never know.)

Q: Is there more to the insect collection that we can find now, or are the tantalizing hints about connections to drones foreshadowing for future content? If there is stuff to find now, how hidden is it?

A: Oh, that's hm. There's a lot of secrets in the game, sort of like what I was talking about before so a lot are mechanical but just as many or more are story things. So the mechanical puzzle is not there but there is a story snaking around.

Q: Is there a way to make the Form of Chains show up in a reasonably predictable way? I am having a devil of a time trying to get Unlocked Chain and it's frustrating to spend a whole day's turns and not see it even once.

A: It is pretty predictable if you are doing it "right". Can't find the code but don't think it's super hard.

Q: Through the magic of complaining about stuff publicly, I now have Unlocked Chain. Are there more charmed chain techniques/detached items we have yet to find?

A: Don't believe so. I'd have to double check the list but probably found everything. Nothing super hidden.

Q: Question #1: Do you miss those days of 2 hour+ podcasts?

A: It is nice to have a long conversation, and I'm glad that people are excited and have questions.

Q: There was a bug before when you killed the annoying museum volunteer with the yellowed lace garotte, the security would not get mad. Apparently that was a bug! That seems so random and specific I have a hard time imagining how a bug like that could happen. Could you explain the anatomy of a really weird bug like that?

A: Hm, so there are times when (don't recall if this is the exact cause with it) I have a script that runs at the end of combat. There are a couple places where if I try to set one script to run at the end of combat it will overwrite by another one. In that case what ends up causing that sort of situation is that the same part of the reward code that groups dropped items together has some weird side-effects on non-item code sometime. There's a lot of things that do have to be grouped together that way but then there are other things that don't make sense to group (eg. two scripts together). Like a lot of things, the more you try to get things to work perfectly, the more things slip through. Some things deserve to be gone through and re-write.

Q: Based on the Vigilante Recording, we just barely missed the guy. I mean, he was strolling around Southside which we cleaned up. Darn shame. Any chance we'll get a meeting with the ghost of the Vigilant like how the ghost of the psychopath showed up as the Quad Psycho?

A: It's not outside the realm of possibility. It has something to do with what spectres are and how they are formed.

Q: On a similar vein to the above question, why do these etheric manifestations tend to, at the very least, have a sinister streak to them? Why no avatars of truth and justice bursting forth from the heads of Eclipse Heads?

A: That has a lot I think to do with both how you are meeting people and the tone of those manifestations/dreams. There are definitely some Eclipse manifestations that are more or less benevolent. Depending on your outlook, you could also see the fish/fae. (I more agree with the fish ethically). If you meet things like the quad psycho, they might look like a normal person until you get into the combat. […] 30:00 A lot would be creepy, but also the question of how many are noteworthy. Eg. in lake Metroplex when investigating the palace, there is a lot of Etheric stuff including sharks, octopus, and benign stuff seaweed, sand etc.

Q: On a spadey note, a LOOONG while back you said we got one half of the puzzle to figuring out the toxic crystal, venomous angel, and toxic octopus eye trio of items. I… still haven't figured out what that one half that we figured out is! Was that supposed to be part of the puzzle? If not mind enlightening us? If it is… hint???

A: I seem to recall that actually the question itself had the information included in it. The interaction there is mostly with a technique that doesn't come up much. So that's your hint.

Q: I've toyed with the mysterious ash for a while, and as far as I've got is to get my guy to recognize the patterns as old drone neural nets when he takes the dust sober. Is there a way to progress the sober results further?

A: Good old mysterious ash. There are definitely some other results you can get while sober but that is the end of one train of thought so to speak.

Q: On the etheric side of mysterious ash, all we've ever got the guy to say about it is that it reminds him of the Slags. Is there a way to… progress the etheric side of the mysterious ash results as well? How hard is it?

A: That is the end of that chain.

Q: Is there a point when the sober and etheric side of the results of mysterious ash intersect to produce AMAZING rewards BEYOND IMAGINATION??? (5th Metroplexity Anniversary Podcast Throwback)

A: There's some cool stuff that it does, you've probably seen that from the two chains you've found.

Q: Why do the swarming insects of the Art Museum never show up when I am swarming with spiders and carrying the Spider Nest. Are they afraid… of arachnids???

A: You could in fact say that they have Arachnophobia.

Q: Speaking of the Art Museum… Suzy. She says no but we all know she really wants the E. What would happen if she takes Eclipse? What would she See? Or would nothing really special happen like with most people.

A: Anyone who actually reacts with Eclipse "properly" (in the ways that the PC's do) (I would not recommend doing that in the museum.) In general, I would imagine it would be pretty spectacular.

Q: On the same vein as above, there's another suspicious girl on the dance floor in the Happy Hour. I mean, she's even got a Novos result dedicated to her! But whenever I try to get in a Dance Off with her to get the DanceDance skill all she ever does is try to punch me in the face. Is there more to her than meets the eye?

A: Doo do do. Dooo do do. [transformers]

Q: It's not just the DanceDance skill that seems suspiciously absent. A skill on Swords is also suspiciously missing. There are tons and tons of swords with tons of interactions all over Metroplexity. But it is the far more niche and reclusive Chains that get a skill. 2 if you count the Charmed Chain! What do you think of this discrepancy?

A: Actually I have a giant block of piraty content which I will be putting in at some point. So yes, it is suspicious. At one point I do want to revamp the ghost ship which will probably mean more sword content.

Q: We found In The Sights. Anything else big like that hiding from when you updated the guns and long-range combat?

A: There definitely at least one technique that was updated which went unnoticed for weeks and weeks which was odd.

Q: INTERMISSION: Con Season has been going on recently! Tons of Cons last month. Have you been to any Cons recently? What are your Con experiences like? Met any Metroplexians in Cons? What are they like?

A: Nothing recently. Liz has been going to a lot of cons but not for gaming things. Gearing up for Gencon. [ish 45:00-1:02:00]

Q: In the previous podcast you mentioned that a "Wolfman" avatar was available. Naturally, we scrambled to find it and failed. Perhaps you can tell me which one of the following methods was closest to correct (while still being wrong, because I did not get the avatar… ) I did the following things:
-Used Call-of-the-moon following each of the Moon tides in a single combat (huge pain in the butt)
-Used Call-of-the-moon following each of the Moon tides in order from 0 (skin-of-the-wolf) to 4 (full-moon-tide) in sequential combats (not necessarily the very next combat each time, but not using that combination of skills (5/6) in any combat unless it fit the squence)
-doing both of the above DURING an actual Full moon (On friday the 13th no less, June 13th 2014) (Kinak: that is totally sweet. I don't have any way to check the moon phases in Metroplexity but totally should.)
-wearing a ton of "wolf-like" gear and winning combats
-Completing a full Moon Tide Cycle back to 0 in a single combat.
-Having one of each of the Moon Tide Cycle in the action list in a single round (yes…1, 2, 3, 4 moon tide phases and a 5th item, which happened to be Call of the Moon. Agony but I did it once or twice.)

So, yes… which of these is closest to correct, or are they all so far away from correct that I should wipe the whiteboard and start from scratch?

A: Probably probably completing a full moon tide cycle in a single combat… but none are particularly close.

Q: Secondly, a question which was asked a long time ago and answer given, but deserves a re-think…. Is there a way to complete the initial eclipse southside quests by Joining the Fangs? Is there plan to implement such if not?

A: Other than talking to Carlos to get Eclipse, there is no way to actually join the Fangs. That would be cool. I would like to have a ton of paths through the game. I'm more focused on moving forward, maybe once I get Oldtown out. What would probably have to happen is a new version of the Southside Quest which would be okay, but also need a new version of the Docks quest, which would take a while.

Q: I remember in our correspondence you told me I misunderstood the Art Museum puzzle as having the vertical and horizontal cycles aligning. Turns out it only has a horizontal cycle. BUT! In your deepest darkest imaginings, Kinak, do you imagine a puzzle that covers great swathes of Metroplexity where a beautiful yet terrifying symmetry of horizontal and vertical—dare I say even diagonal???—cycles converge to reveal the ULTIMATE TRUTH??? (and why restrict cycles to the Euclidean space? Gotta think outside the tesseract!)

A: I am actually kind of thinking where a tesseract is in Euclidean space. Anyway, most of the puzzles that are huge (that weave through multiple locations across the game) are story-based. Which means that the largest hardest puzzles you will never know if you have the right answer. Though a major puzzle through the whole game appeals.

Q: Major ups to Al suggestion the column lengths and hiding images ability. It's, like, 100x easier to play Metroplexity on the phone now. The thought of waiting each and ever time I equipped and unequipped something for the entire inventory to refresh on my phone… no. So this is much better! But I wonder… could it be even better? Thoughts on making an APP for Metroplexity?

A: I have been thinking about it a bit. I've been playing around with Xcode a bit. Probably something for iPhone since that's what I use and can actually test. One of my action items for this week is to start looking into you go about building web apps. Basically a specialized link to web. Pretty big undertaking.

Q: So you had goals when you first started out making Metroplexity. (playing between helpdesk calls. oh hey, phones are a much bigger part of work lag time now! hint hint) What're your goals for it now?

A: What I really want Metroplexity to be, when it is "done", is an environment where you can make more or less any choices you want. If you choose to just dick around you might not get to the end necessarily, but add options for eg. joining the Fangs, or killing everyone, or killing no one, or all the smaller choices with every encounter. My favourite memory of playing Planescape:Torment where you encounter a kinetic ice sculpture and can capture one of the ice shards with your ever-frosty mug if you have the mug. I want options for the stuff you want to do, and the surprising stuff too. The story arc of the game isn't finished but hopefully something I strive towards is that it will look like a GMless roleplaying game. […] [1:22:

Q: Who's the best spader?

A: Clearly whoever is listening to this podcast right now.

Q: UNEARTHLY ITEMS TIME: It's hard to use the designer vines because it can easily take 20+ energy to get one drop from the pants. It takes at least 2 of these items to make a consumable. And as an unearthly item based almost entirely on its consumables, this makes it a huge commitment to use! Is there a way to speed up the frequency of the item drops?

A: I want to say that there is. Hehehe. Yes there is there indeed is. Not sure if you would find it more or less annoying than just taking your time.

Q: MINING HELMET TIME: Why does the Serpent of the Earth act all confused when you strike your selection of techniques? Is that hinting towards something bigger?

A: Not sure what you mean.

Q: The Serpent of the Earth has what is figured to be a really rare drop. The tear of the earth. Yet Valmo was able to get a number of these things in short order. Is it actually rare or does it have a specific set of conditions in order to be yielded?

A: There are very very few drops in the game that are just rare. There is one that has a bunch of requirements and is rare. Most of the rest have conditionals. Danger of streaks with semi-random results.

Q: The Writhing Fungus has a technique that drags you off your feet and at the end of the round drops you onto the ground for significant damage. Yet at one point I could've sword I was able to just completely avoid the end of round damage. It just didn't happen. I have combat logs of that. Yet I have failed time and time again to replicate it. Some bizarre bug or is there actually some way to just completely avoid fall damage?

A: That sounds like the type of thing I would code. I would imagine there's a way to at least avoid getting dragged off your feet… There isn't any immediately obvious way to avoid all damage.

Q: There are 2 techniques from the Scuffed Mining Helmet. Pale Summons and Mining Strike. That feels astonishingly small. Is there anything else to find?

A: I feel like there should be one more in there but don't quote me on that.

Q: Do you have any games from Steam?

A: Don't have steam. On a mac. Played some Hearthstone, Braid, older stuff.

Q: There was a Steam Summer Sale recently though people said the sales weren't as great as past summer sales. We know you don't play Metroplexity so what games do you play? Fez and La Mulana are pretty crazy I shudder to think if you got any puzzle ideas from those games.

A: I don't play a ton of games in general. Do a lot more reading about games than actually playing them.

Q: Do you much about Braid and it's 8 stars? Amazingly difficult to acquire items in the game that took a whole community continual and focused effort in order to collect them all which in no way in the game was even hinted to even exist so took forever to even discover. What do you think about this game design? Do you see yourself incorporating something like that into Metroplexity? (cycles cycles cycles)

A: I mean, there are a lot of things like that in Metroplexity… Not particularly aware of the Braid situation.

Q: How many cycles does the cycle chain fit into? How many deep and dark secrets is it a part of befitting its namesake?

A: Just one cycle I think. Might be a secret cycle cycle.

Q: It's pretty crazy thinking about the Rage effects. They are a largely ignored set of effects from the community yet have a myriad of interactions in-game. Recently Al just learned about Rage Effects and the paintings. What about rage effects got you so fascinated by them while the rest of us steer clear?

A: One of the things that I think is really fascinating about Metroplexity and its interactions with drugs. One of the things about really dangerous drugs is that you will start making choices differently. So having effects that actually change the way that your choices are made is a powerful, interesting way to represent that.

Q: Speaking of little insular things you keep adding interactions to: Blitz Poppers! Added way back at the start of gang warfare, we have found its fingerprints on the Midgard Player and Empty Heart. What keeps you going back to this item?

A: One of the things that I do quite a bit is… well a lot of stuff cross links. It's weirder for me to include a technique that doesn't have hooks into other stuff. If there's something that people haven't figured out, I try to keep it updated. For two reasons - people will tell me if there is a missing interaction if they know what both of the elements are. Eg. in a fight with a hypothetical giant lion with invulnerable skin and you can choke it with a chain, if the charmed chain doesn't work then people will point it out and I will add that but if the lion was particularly well hidden then nobody would know to tell me that something is fucked up. The other half of it is that the more things crosslinked like that gives more pointers. Ups the ante too. Will add 10 interactions, people found 5 right away, a few more get picked off but one will take forever to find, then will maybe increase the effects.

Q: Why so many suspicious things in this game? Or is it just me?

A: Probably more hearts than suspicious items.

Q: Okay. I'm done. Is it 2 hours yet?

A: One hour 47 minutes.

Q: Already a lot of questions so I'll try to keep this short but some are going to be long unfortunately. The first few pertain to fishing at the hidden fishing spot on the Waterfront:

Are bait bluegills a possible result? Going over my data I only have 1 bait bluegill out of 229 trips so I may have logged a lake bluegill incorrectly. The bait being scarce makes sense though as if a lot of the other fish are around they'd probably be eating the bait bluegills.

A: I want to say you can't get the bait at the special fishing spot. In general, with that many trials (unless something is specifically unlocked), you probably will see a few.

Q: I'm also having a hard time correctly logging when I find any of the extra items. I know it is possible to get 2 extra items in one trip in the form of a lost hook and a piece of high test line, because of a few trips where I had 5 standard results along with the line and hook. The issue I am hitting with logging is discerning the origin of any high test line I find. For example with 3 dock pikes, a piece of high test, and a lost hook I know the lost hook is an extra item but can't pin down if the high test is an extra item or a regular result.

A: [checks] Hmhehe. Yeah, there is not going to be a super easy way to tell that. You can definitely tell if there are extra items but determining for sure if any particular item is extra.

Q: Additionally would you be willing to give a hint as to how the extra items are handled? I know it can be a piece of line, a hook, a rod, or a hook+line. Are duplicate of the same item possible like 2 lines?

A: As far as the bonus items, no I think you have the exact results. You are more or less fishing up one item but sometimes the hook is attached to it.

Q: Lastly are the extra items supposed to be influenced by the fishing modifiers? +4 deep fishing for 116 trips resulted in 100 extra items I could positively ID as extras and +3 surface for 113 trips resulted in 33 extra I could ID as such.

A: There are a lot of things in fishing modify it.

Q: Aside from being fun little trinkets that can help smooth out our combat chains with the charmed chain do they have another function left to be found? They're pretty interesting as is but I'm still curious.

A: They are primarily intended for [mumble].

New unearthly item coming out, Novos upcoming. Possible delays on art. Thanks everyone.

Podcast #38

Q: Is it currently possible to get Skill 79?

A: Yes, that is active. Not an easy one to get but possible. (That skill is Drone Electronics.)

Q: Is the new, more easily accessible Cyberware from the paperback preparation for the Oldtown update?

A: Sort of…related to oldtown. In that there is a cyberclinic in oldtown accessible without doing a quest. So having a separate cyberware option won't cause any problems.

Q: Are there any salvage-exclusive items (like the thin shiv from the rotting journal) that have yet to be discovered?

A: I don't believe so. I guess not the items. There is at least one thing which is salvage-exclusive and not found though.

Q: Who are the ancients whose blood is so tasty?

A: I guess you'll have to dig in to whoever made that puzzle box.

Q: I know that No Pain can be obtained from non-alcohol sources, but it seems a bit odd that it doesn't count as a drunken effect. Especially when gained from Eclipse Whiskey for example, when whiskey by itself does give a drunken effect.

A: The drunkenness is more about loss of control than lack of pain. No Pain is a different type.

Q: For the charmed chain — is there a has_fangs flag or is the fanged charm based on intrinsic factors? For a while it seemed that opponents with Ghoul Bite would give it but not all of them seem to work.

A: There is not a specific Fangs flag.

Q: Grinding Mortar seems to require both an Etheric effect and a sub-optimal offhand equipped for a 6-base damage Etheric attack. This seems like a pretty weak tradeoff overall. Is there something else we are missing there?

A: It's always possible. It's always possible there's things that are unbalanced too. More than just the 6 base damage.

Q: The garotte technique gives a special message with the lace equipped with no apparent increase in damage. Anything we're missing there?

A: That one might be just pure flavour text. [Checks] Oh, actually there is an additional benefit there, it may not be the easiest thing in the world to see.

Q: Some opponents are crunchy when you eat them with ghoultouched. Is this a specific flag, or some combination of made_out_of_stone and made_out_of_metal and made_out_of_bone? Do you track the materials that opponents are made of?

A: It's a combination of several flags I believe. Stone has its own; metal and bone don't (yet).

Q: Related, is the horrific spider made of stone? (Rocksplitter shot doesn't seem to think so.)

A: Probably should. Should now be.

Q: Also related, have we reached the end of the line with the holographic troll, or anything more to find there?

A: You presumably figured out what to do with the rewards from the troll but no, there is no further boss.

Q: Those NNN accounts seem to pile up a lot more than they are useful. Now that we can get them from the University net, I wonder if it makes sense for the computer lab to drop them too?

A: The NNN accounts aren't intended to be endlessly useful, I guess. I like having it on the lab because that means they're always available. The university net can be pretty challenging (especially at the level of understanding we have of university net) to find specific things.

Q: Can you give the usual status report on novos/upcoming content/life?

A: So…I've talked before about how the amount of work I get done is very energy-based. And sort of lost my stride a while back, then went to gen-con and then got sick. Keeping the focus. We're trying some different strategies for keeping things moving. More, small updates is good. Not doing small updates was an attempt to get Novos done faster but doesn't really seem to help. So we're trying a re-organization of sorts - Lyz gets weekly reports, and is taking a bit more active role keeping things on task. I'm also trying a slightly different approach to content rollouts, breaking them out in chucks. Putting out a skeleton and then fleshing it out. This serves a couple purposes — easier to debug, keeping the end goal in site. So Novos is broken into chunks (and maybe subchunks). First chunk should go out soon. Hopefully back to weekly updates. Halloween approaches. Thinking about how to work on Oldtown. Lyz has been traveling a lot. Puyo and I are putting our heads together on a project (no idea when it will see the light of day). Part of the deal is Kinak's helping with Puyo's game ideas (writing/coding/etc).

Q: I recently did some fishing on the Ghost Ship and encountered something that struck me as odd. The skullfish did not appear to respond to the +surface modifier but did respond to +deep (albeit not greatly) , +object, and +fish. Is there something a little off with the skullfish, or does it relate to how there are no other fish present aside from the skullfish so +surface and +deep reacted oddly?

A: There's nothing specifically with the skullfish per se, but the ghost ship is a pretty interesting fishing spot. I don't think that you should have had any particular effects with top and bottom.

Q: When life is cheap, people are more willing to take crazy risks. Still, would the average Metroplex resident think "here is an organ of unknown type or function, vatgrown in the nightmares of a previous generation — I think I'll have a cyberdoc pop it in and see what it does"? Or is that the PC's apparent immortality talking?

A: Most people are not especially excited about cyberware. More for surgery than cosmetics. Some people who are putting their life on the line a lot (eg. the people you fight) are maybe more likely, or people who are under pressure from their corps. Still, it's more the legitimate cyberware than the mad-science vat-grown variety.

Q: For a while Vholes' wiki message of the day was exhorting us to find a way to shoot the fish. Is that actually possible?

A: Not to my knowledge, but people have surprised me before.

Q: Even after all this time, I'm still bothered by the apparent underwhelmingness of Stone's pistol and Stone's beatstick. Is there more to one or both of those items than we know?

A: I don't believe so. Sorry if they're underwhelming — if you have any ideas for a buff let me know.

Q: I don't know of anyone who has managed to get more than one instance of Continuing Fire, and it seems very difficult to get more than one or two Conservative Fire. Are we missing something about the unlock there, or are they just really hard to get in quantity? (Or, perhaps, is the acquisition code not working quite right?)

A: A lot of techniques have various or sundry diminishing returns on getting them. It's possible those are too strong, or in a lot of cases, it requires a lot more finesse to get the second or third one than the first.

Q: The foreign memory suggests that it's not just Midgard fooling around with Eclipse. Is this something the PCs just haven't heard about up to now because they live in territory firmly under Midgard's control, or is the involvement of other corps with Eclipse a new development?

A: There's a little bit more going on with the foreign memory than immediately apparent. There' a bit of… backstory there. Really it's an active question who sent them those pills. Did they receive it from someone local or Midgard or ???

Q: The hacking result about cyberware suggesting new avenues of research in philosophy looks like a big fat hint, but one that despite (or because of!) a real-life philosophy backround I haven't found a way to follow up on successfully. Any nudges you want to impart here?

A: Philosophy is not something that is easy to research in game. In theory, you could look into it more with the right neuralware, but I wouldn't worry about it for the time being.

Q: Speaking of cyberware and philosophy, I'm curious about why all cyberware we've found so far has some kind of associated penalty in addition to an ongoing Body cost. (I'm not implying any sort of criticism here; I'm just interested in having you walk through the underlying design philosophy.)

A: Most of the cyberware you've gotten so far… I guess there's two reasons. One of them is that the basic design of drugs and cyberware is supposed to be a little double-edged. Also a lot of the cyberware you've come across so far is not great, so I would expect to see stuff with less penalties. And there's also the question of whether cyberware is better than normal organs. Cybernetics are more about specializing. Replacing chunks of your bodies with cyberware creates a tradeoff.

Q: Will the Novos net include any new skills?

A: I do plan on adding at least one new skill associated with Novos at some point, but may be a little ways off.

Q: Are there any interactions between the red-lensed goggles (or derivatives thereof) and the new Patchwork Dreams skill, or are the two drawn from unrelated fields of mad science?

A: I actually totally meant to include something there. So, no totally different branches of mad science.

Q: Let's mix things up a little for this podcast. Instead of me asking the questions, let's have you ask the questions, and I give the answers! Remember to preface all your "answers" with "who is" or "what is" or else it doesn't count.

A: Alright!

Q: This professor day in and day out studies the lake serpent samples even though it only takes the players a couple days of hacking to completely figure it out.

A: I believe that would be Dr. Evans but I'm really bad with names. Checking. Wait, Dr. Myers, that makes sense.

Q: Of people that the playerbase knows, this person is the most knowledgable on network security.

A: Who is Dr. Amundsen.

Q: This company apparently makes prototype entertainment items for the black market and not actually fully release them to the general public.

A: Who is Midgard?

Q: !!!Daily Double!!! Zack has very mixed opinions on the value of unearthly coins. On one hand offering styling coats made of invulnerable material for 1 unearthly coin, and on the other demanding 2 unearthly coins for a battered mining helmet. But even he felt he pulled a fast one when he demanded coins for this item.

A: What is 'Zach will charge what the market will bare?'

Q: This neglected item could use a little bit more love and attention.

A: Festive knit cap.

Q: This person was the first player to ever win all four seasonal coins in a single season. His achievement was finally matched by The Fop in the twenty-third season where The Fop did 63% of all resets that season.

A: Who is Mag? I'm not actually sure.

Q: This is the name of the new zone that's coming out this year! … ????

A: What is I hope there's an answer to this question. I don't have firm plans to include a new zone. There may be a large amount of content for an existing zone, or a new "area".

Q: It is normally impossible to get a combat encounter with the Horrific Spider if already under the influence of Spider Venom. But this particular encounter allows you to do just that.

A: What is I actually believe there are several, not sure what you're talking about.

Q: This is Kinak's favorite furniture item.

A: What is the Christmas tree.

Q: This drug would've been the #1 drug of choice for hipsters if it weren't for the availability of Eclipse.

A: Metros Light!! Or actually, Z.

Q: When Metroplexity first did Christmas holiday content, the content ended on Christmas Day. This changed on the Christmas of 2010 with the introduction of this post-Christmas boss.

A: Snowmonstrosity.

Q: This item can't actually be given to the Ocean King as tribute even though it shows up as an option.

A: Hm, I remember coding that.

Q: Have you had any design thoughts on what players might be able to do, if we ever get access to the equipment for creating neural recordings?

A: Yeah, I've put some thought into that. I don't expect that to happen since it's pretty specialized equipment, and it's Midgard territory.

Q: We're still having some trouble digging up the secrets lurking in the mold golems, so maybe you'll take pity on us. Can something be found by just generally using the right equipment/effects/techniques in the fight, or is it more complex?

A: Um, the biggest missing thing is pretty tricky because it's actually a skill interaction rather than an item interaction. (The skill in question is Poltergeist Spark, giving the Sunless Slime technique.))

Q: The most wonderful time of the year in Metroplexity is rapidly coming up! Hooray for Halloween. Are any of the authors of the stories in the Halloween books sold each year people we've met in game?

A: Most of them are nameless students. Southrane wrote one, maybe two. Jess may have written one as well.

Q: How much is Jess skimming off the top of our fundraising, and is she set for life by now?

A: Well she's still selling her books on the quad…

Q: Any teasers for this year?

A: Well I will be…hm. I did just send off the art request for all the new art. It's hopefully going to be undercontrol and not totally burn myself out by the end of the month. It should sort of tie in a couple other pieces of content I'd like to roll out. One of those being the Novos stuff, one of those being the area that isn't quite actually a zone. And of course it will have a bit of tie-in with October's unearthly item. I think I have something pretty interesting coming up that hopefully won't murder me.

Novos stuff coming out pretty soon. Leading into more Novos stuff, little updates, then Halloween. Hopefully finish the majority of Novos around Halloweenish but no promises.

Podcast #39

Q: Halloween questions! We found 18 Halloween costumes this year, a new record. Can you share how many total there are to find? Mad Doctor is neat.

A: Don’t quote me exactly, but 24 maybe? No 23 is my best estimate. So yeah, still a couple floating out there.

Q: How far off were we from building a complete maze? Shame it seems we missed the ability to hide snakes but they are a neat souvenir in their own right.

A: I was surprised that the maze got as close as it did. It was lagging quite behind for most of it at about a third done or so, and right at the end it jumped up to 3/4s or so. So whatever you did in the last day had been done for another day, it would have been complete. I think at the end you might have been able to hide serpents.

Q: Alliance drones not getting through: was this because we hacked and intercepted all of them, or because something got messed up with the shipping from Jess's end?

A: I prefer to blame everything on Alliance. I did not expect people to look at that and think that they did something terrible by hacking them. The text was kind of there to give people a pass, “I want to help out, but I’m hacking these drones which seems like the opposite of helping out.” So they were getting lost elsewhere in the process. Alliance QC is not great.

Q: Willing to share any more hints about special collections or dorms reconstruction?

A: Dorm reconstruction will probably mostly just be a sign that I’m working on special collections. Special collections in-game will be special collections you can visit. Out of the game, it’s a place you can permanently put items you want to share, but the plan is not you will not be able to withdraw them.

Q: I have tried in vain to find the Pumpkin King the last couple years. Has he been available? Can he get locked out if, for example, we don't get enough Eclipse into the crowd?

A: Yeah, he does have to be triggered so does not show up every year.

Q: Other questions! Can you give us the normal update on upcoming content?

A: I’ve got a big Novos thing coming out a week or so after you asked this question, (which I launched yesterday). So a bit more Novos stuff to add here and there, but the main meat and potatoes is in now. I will probably start working on Oldtown in parallel with that so some updates might slow down a bit. Now that there’s enough Novos stuff in to do Dr. Amundsen’s Oldtown quest, I can move forward on that. One of the to-do items I have for this week is make a skeleton for Oldtown, which is a list of absolutely everything I’ll need for Oldtown to go live. Which is a little different from how I’ve done quests before. I’ve found that if you double the amount of content in a project, it takes 3-4 times as long, and substantially more bugs too.

Q: Light of the Eye and Whiteout are both Etheric techniques that Evade damage. However the former seems to use Etheric Power and the latter uses Evasion Power. Is there a consistent way to tell how bonus power works?

A: Forms of techniques can have different types. I would say the only way to know for sure is through spading but for the most part I try to keep them the same. So it’s possible Whiteout is mislabeled on the front technique. [now fixed shortly after the podcast]

Q: Novos questions! Cyberbowl chipdecks seem like a really difficult way to get a pretty crappy neural link. Something hidden we are missing there?

A: I don’t think so offhand? A lot of the stuff in the cyberbowl is — not crap exactly — but the collectable marketed stuff that may not be great.

Q: It seems that the Hardening of most Novos programs was scaled down to ~1/5 of the equivalent Oldos value — Midgard protection suite from 5 to 1, top shield programs from ~10 to ~2. Do you plan to rebalance the PDAs in the next little while? As it stands, a Fang PDA effectively turns Hardening from a resource to manage into an effectively limitless supply. (I would 100% support changing the Fang PDA to ~5-7 hardening and rebalancing the other PDAs accordingly.)

A: Yeah at some point during the homestretch, the old items will get updated, including the PDAs and some of the old programs that are still available (Golden Chip stuff). Haven’t thought too hard about the pvp hacking stuff too hard right now.

Q: Eurasian Reports — something hidden to find there presumably. Currently possible?

A: Not absolutely everything has hidden stuff. I don’t remember putting anything in there.

Q: How much more Novos revamp is in the works? You talked about rolling out the next phase in chucks but honestly the shipping drone revamp seemed like a pretty complete thing as is. Best of several worlds — a number of random results, with obvious ways to filter the results, which makes the randomness pretty manageable. As laudable the hacking revamp has been so far…I am eager to see the next stage of the main quest line…

A: That plays nicely with what I was talking about before. The major outstanding thing with Novos is the Golden Chip. A lot of the programs are still under the Oldos paradigm, and would like to add some more stuff there too maybe. Eventually I’ll have to go through and cleanup the old net. Open question if I should do that before or after the hacking pvp stuff. But yeah, I would say the only thing that’s pressing is the Golden Chip. There is one other cool thing I’d like to add but will get to that when I get to it.

Q: Alliance drones seemed peculiar this Halloween. It seemed that practically all Alliance drones with Halloween goodies didn't have proper identification. So most people who didn't already have Alliance filtering before Halloween couldn't get it. Was this Halloween weirdness or some mechanic of drones we haven't really experienced/understand before?

A: I did eventually sort that out. There’s some weirdness in the drone generation code - if you cleared out all the Alliance drones with identification, it goes back to ones without id. I’m not sure if it actually got to that state. Should be fixed now. Some combination of weirdness and drones being crashed. For what it’s worth, it was fixable with the right strategies but like I said shouldn’t happen again anyway.

Q: How did Jess feel watching her shipment tracker seeing all her goods get delivered outside the Slags?

A: She ended up getting, I won’t say most, but a lot of them. So getting them hand delivered from the Slags is better than the alternative.

Q: Jess apparently paid for a lot of goods that never got delivered. Who were liable for these lost deliveries, Jess or the small time shippers? How did this effect the bottom line of the shipping people?

A: I would say it’s more the shipper’s fault. But obviously the stuff that was supposed to come through didn’t, so if Jess has quality legal counsel it might be okay.

Q:** You mentioned to me earlier there are ways to effect what kind of shipping fleet you encountered. I assume this is something besides the Filters you can learn. How intuitive/obscure are these other methods of fleet encounter rates?**

A: I would say — it’s always really hard tell how intuitive something is for someone else. I think that the way that the drones work makes a lot of sense. But I also think that the way that the sites work on campus makes a lot of sense but those have not been figured out at all. So my sense of what is obvious has not been well calibrated to what everyone else thinks.

Q: At some point the maze situation got desperate and we figured out best chance was to forgo the solid walls in favor of stacking 5 bricks. The in-game text implies 5 bricks as much of a wall as the 10 bricks. It just can be knocked down. I gotta know. How many of our 5 bricks stacks got knocked down?

A: I did not directly keep track of that. I didn’t notice the numbers dropping but it did stay very low for a very long time. There was always some stacked bricks.

Q: For the first time ever, the Punch got more Antidoted than Eclipsed. What were your expectations for this Halloween and how did you feel about the outcome?

A: I’m always kind of happy to see the outcome no matter what it was. It’s interesting to give people a bit of free reign. This year was more experimental with the hacking side of things and integrating that into the setup. There was some interesting stuff if things got Eclipsed.

Q: How did you feel about some people actively trying to keep the T-rex away this year?

A: I mean, it’s your T-Rex. I like the T-Rex but up to you.

Q: The other event coordinator became one with vampireness when the punch got mega eclipsed. How much of a badass boss would Jess become if she became one with piratey-ness?

A: I feel like pirates are inherently less dangerous than vampires unless you are some cursed pirate or something.

Q: Did we miss any big Halloween only content that we had unlocked?

A: There were a couple things that didn’t get picked up on. Or, a couple places where everyone choose one option.

Q: This Halloween is a lot more low key than the other Halloweens. Any comments about not having things explode or rampant slaughter every year?

A: I like to switch it up some. To be perfectly honest, having a little less going on means a bit more work on Novos and other content. Two or three weeks of events means that I’m useless through to December.

Q: When it comes to Halloween shipments, it was 50/50 Crepe Paper or something else. Any competent hacker can easily get over 200 rolls of it. Why did Jess keep ordering them, should we all blame GoldS, and did that really mess up our foam brick opportunities?

A: It was sort of split out by the cost of the items and how much was donated, and all of them had higher stages. Eg. once you got enough in the animatronics fund, you started getting snakes as well, things like that. So there was a lot going on there. The interesting thing actually about the crepe paper — the actual amount of decoration that was done was not very high. There was a ton of crepe paper delivered but not a lot of it got used, so some things related to decorations did not get unlocked.

Q: Speaking of piratey things, how far down the tubes is that pirate update?

A: I have art for it, but I’ve had art for it for a long time. It’s not immediately on my radar. If it ends up being something quick if I have a day free then I might do it, but I don’t want to commit to it with everything else on my plate.

Q: Saber, the Third Eye member you can try to intimidate seems completely unflappable. I have tried becoming the Quad Psycho to scare him and learning tons Eye techniques and even straight up killing his colleagues in the Abandoned Building rather than using any subterfuge. He is unfazed. Is there anything you can say about the proper way of scaring him?

A: It’s possible I should just go and make it easier? But Violence and stats are the two big things. It’s a pretty old chunk of code that runs through so maybe I should go through and add some more options there.

Q: Items like the Integrated Gangfinder, Retrofitted Scanner, and Personal Comm Dish give you gang warfare "updates" if you are willing to sacrifice energy and a equipment slot. But, you can get way more detail for free by checking the Gang Warfare menus. I know there's something else to the Comm Dish but do those other items have some ancillary unstated benefit from keeping them on?

A: Yes. Retrofitted Scanner might just give the messages. The other two definitely do other stuff.

Q: I noticed you can get Disturbing Canvases in the trash. So I tried having the Garbage Sticker equipped in the Carnal House in hopes of getting some Disturbing Canvases. It didn't work. Do you think it should've worked?

A: Actually something I intend to do at some point is add a bunch more results so you get appropriate stuff for where you are.

Q: You heavily implied earlier there's a way to bypass the Two Roads on the fifth floor of the Damaged Building. We noticed if you Watch Him after giving him a hound he leads you on a path cutting clear across the floor. But that path didn't end up bypass the two roads. Anything you can comment about the proper bypassingness?

A: It’s not that you don’t have to go through the two roads, it’s that there are ways within that encounter to cross that don’t necessarily require a fight or a giant pile of stats.

Q: Blitz poppers, RAGE effects, and Warty Toadstools with their Focused Perception are all old old old old old old old Gang Warfare who we only recently found more synergies with. Do any of those three hide a significant chunk of content?

A: I am not 100% what all you have. The Blitz poppers themselves are pretty interesting. The rage effects interact with a lot of stuff which I think Al or someone figured out. I think Focused Perception matters in quite a few places. Rage makes Kinak happy.

Q: Could you please please please add some functionality in the Omnimall to filter buy orders that you want to see by cost? Very often when new content comes up people clutter up the buy orders with 1 credit offers and then never bother to take those offers down. It would be nice to be able to quickly see, for example, what things people are willing to buy for 500 credits or more if you are looking to make a quick cred.

A: So you’re looking for an option to see large buy orders? Hm. I will think about that.

Q: I have just started playing after a year or so and was wondering what's new?

A: Most of the new stuff has been with Novos (new hacking system). Hopefully a bit more fun and a bit more integrated into the main game. A couple quest revamps — Southside and the Docks quest. More weapon types.

Q: I'm using a windows phone and for some reason when I attempt to log in (while on wifi) I get booted back to the log in screen. It doesn't tell me I have entered the incorrect password. This is on a Lumia 900 series.

A: Go ahead and message me in game. There’s a security feature which doesn’t always play nicely with certain networks.

Q: What's the future of the Metroplexity look like? What's planned within the next year or so?

A: I’m starting to work on Oldtown, which is the next quest in the main questline, depending on which Survivor you chose. More Novos stuff. Christmas is coming up but may not be added a lot to that this year. Depending how things go, there are a couple older areas that I would like to go back and revamp but probably not til after Oldtown. And the special collections thing which may or may not interest you.

Q: I know that there are currently 5 combat forms. Are you planning to add more?

A: I would be a little surprised if I added more. For the most part I’ve been pretty happy with those. But if I eg. end up adding a bunch of techniques that do electricity damage, I could see adding something like that more explicitly.

Q: Also can you give any hints on where the story heading? :)

A: Well, the story for the most part will stay within Metroplex. Probably a little bit near the end that could take place outside the city. After Oldtown, going into Downtown, which is to say dealing with Midgard Corporate directly, and then a closing chapter where you learn some of the answers. And adding the reset as a plot point at the end main quest line.

Q: My names Tanya I've been playing this game for 3/4 years now and it still feels highly inaccessible to me. I don't really know what I'm doing, and it feels like I'm always needing this or that unearthly item to do something. Often times that item isn't even for sale. What do you think about the accessibility of this game to newcomers and do you have any plans about it?

A: The unearthly items thing — they do rotate back through and depending how much I’m on the ball with getting them out should go pretty quickly. I don’t really want them all out because it makes resets weird. Having access to a giant pile of items makes it way harder for people to catch up. Not all unearthly items will be necessary or helpful to reset.

As far as accessibility - I would like to reduce the barrier to entry. The southside quest could probably use a little more guidance to get people started. I’ve gotten good feedback from the combat tips I added. The game is very open and that can cause a lot of accessibility problems by its nature. You don’t necessary have a lot of guidance — as a designer you have to balance the guidance people need and the openness people want. It’s tricky. I would not mind putting in some more signposts in the early part of the game. As much as it’s a tangled mass of plot points, having some kind of arrow for one path through might help. If there’s anything in particular that you found vexing, go ahead and let me know.

Q: I've had lots of friends join because they saw I liked it, but they quickly grew bored and left because from their perspective there was nothing to do. I've stayed so long because been setting myself goals, like mastering the hacking system, completing all quests I can find, currently I'm trying to kill the sea king… but once I have I'm not sure I can find a goal after that…?

A: Most of the long-time players go through the reset process and either collect skills through that, conducts or competing for reset. There’s a lot of what is called spading — exploring how different effects work, how you can crack open hidden puzzles etc. As much as the game tries to pull people in and hold their attention, there is a finite amount of content and though I try to add things as fast as I can, there’s no way for me to keep up with someone who’s just playing straight through. I think that if people reset enough, I can sort of keep up with that. There is a certain time where it might be better to pull back for a few months. But if you haven’t tried resetting, I think it’s a lot of fun.

Q: Tanya's comment right above really resonates with me as well - I've had a similar thoughts, but haven't been able to properly express them. To me it feels like there's a huge gap between newbies and veterans, I thought it's because I really suck, but perhaps I'm not alone. Along these lines my first question is:

Would you consider adding an entirely new hint section (besides the two existing ones, combat and hacking)? I happened to see that there are conducts for completing a run without getting beaten up - this seems so far fetched to me. I have no idea how one would do this, I lose hard and often :-) The new hints might be given when the player loses, perhaps if they lose multiple times to the same opponent. Maybe something like "as you black out, you realize you came to this fight with the wrong weapon". Or, if they player is wearing the wrong equipment, need better defense for a particular element: "as you black out, you wonder if you should have chosen your equipment more carefully". Or any other "nudge" that you think would make sense. I realize this might be hard to code, since you have to know the enemy, you have to check what the player actually has etc. I found the other hints useful, and it seems to me that some more hand-holding would help.

A: I will see what I can do about that. There are at least some basic checks I could do based on opponent’s stats. Very good suggestion.

Q: Would you consider adding color to each type of damage? Fire damage could be in red, etheric in green, for example. KoL has this (or perhaps KoLMafia adds it, not sure), but I find it useful. It might also be helpful for new players to help them figure out that some enemies attack in different ways, for which you might need the appropriate defense. If you have something against using color, it could be done differently: just bold the text for damage ("The Bum's shoots you for ### damage.") and add a hover text that shows "ranged damage".

A: I do love me some hover text. I’m not a big fan of color but I will give some thought.

Q: Have you thought about interface improvements? Even in-run I find it's hard to go through each piece of equipment to check for a specific attribute. Once I've retrieved all my items from the void… There's way too many items in my inventory. I'm thinking something as simple as a drop-down would help tremendously: it would contain entries like "melee defense", "ranged defense", etc. When the player selects one, the items that have this remain unchanged, the items that don't get faded out. Though I'm sure you could think of other improvements as well. This might be an unpopular request: I guess veterans would rather see your energy go into new content. So perhaps this could be outsourced to someone with JS/GreaseMonkey skills?

A: Javascript and I don’t really get along. I think that it is possible. It would be sort of a pain…you would need a list of all the items. I’ll think on it.

Q: I recently joined a gang, and I find that this makes things a lot easier. I heal more and random goodies are dropping all the time, which is a big bonus. Is there any difference now between completing a run as a member of a gang or by yourself? If not, do you think this should warrant a conduct (something like "lone wolf") or some other reward?

A: The only reason that it doesn’t give a conduct for that is that the only way for people to not get the benefits of being in a gang is for them to not be in the gangs, and I don’t want to force people to have to leave their gangs. So it would require some sort of toggle to ignore your gang, which is a little weird. But yes, definitely a lot easier.

Q: Finally (fishing for hints): assuming you read the wiki, have you seen anything where you though "oh, this stuff is way off"?

A: Let’s see. A lot of stuff with Novos and finesse is pretty missed. Not to say that it’s easy to figure out. That’s the only think that leaps to mind right now but I’m sure there was more in the past.

Q: When I started hacking drones to get Halloween supplies, I noticed I got very little and most of that was candy (the latter is just RNG, I know). Checking the wiki, the solution was apparently to get Alliance Filtering, so I got to work. I got the other Filtering recipes pretty quickly, but no Alliance. Was it the intended result that people who joined a few days too late could only get very few supplies? Did I do something wrong? It was frustrating at the time.

A: I sort of addressed that above but yeah, it shouldn’t have been harder. It was fixable but not in a way that anyone jumped to the conclusion of.

Q: Halloween, and especially the party itself, was pretty uneventful and boring. To the point that even when Etheric nothing changed. Was this due to the amount of antidote that was put into the punch by the boring anti-fun brigade? Was there a large difference between the Eclipse- and antidote-spiked punch?

A: The amount of antidote that was put in was pretty overwhelming. On the order of double the amount of Eclipse. But yeah, whether it was Eclipsy or antidotey changed the nature of the party quite a bit, as well as other things like the T-Rex or snakes.

Q: Was virtue its own reward in the case of not killing the Dragon Hunter, or was there some analogue of the cosplay polearm that those of us who aren't total sociopaths just missed triggering?

A: It’s kind of funny - there were a number of people who triggered the requirement for getting the alternate reward but they also killed her later. So none of them actually got it. But yes, there was an alternate reward with the right puzzle jumping.

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