Podcasts (2016)
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#44 Feb 29, 2016 link link
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#46 Sept 11, 2016 link link


Podcast #44

Q: General update on things?

A: A pretty rough end of last year/start of this year. Family stuff, difficult people to deal with. Feeling a lot better now, got things together. Things are moving forward in Metroplexity and Twilight Heroes. Also a secret side project which will be announced in six month or so. The other major thing helping with is the Reason Rally - in DC around June.

Q: Will we see a new prize for the top run of each season in Oldtown? I've collected a fair number of Coins of the Seasons now.

A: Yes. I would like to have new rewards for next season. I can’t 100% promise that because I don’t have all the art and such yet but I will give a heads up in the updates page. But if you are gunning for any particular coins for your collection, I would get them now. This season has been a bit rocky from the transition so getting that all sorted out before doing new rewards.

Q: What's the deal with the Omnitech BigDig? Is it currently possible to "usefully" hack it? I can't figure out how to drive it.

A: There was a bug report on that relatively recently where I did find something. So if you tried a while ago it’s possible it’s working now. If you tried in the last couple days, might still be a bug or just missing something.

Q: On Dr. Thomas's quest to distribute Eclipse, can we offer a crate to Zack? I feel like he would be a good customer.

A: On one hand, I really deep in my heart want him to accept the offer of Eclipse and then change a bunch of his text to reflect that, but that would be a lot of work. So unless I’m called to that task at some point (which I might because it sounds like a pretty fun idea) I wouldn’t expect to see that.

Q: The new foreign shark in the records office doesn't seem to have any drops, but the one in the lake gives special results with sashimi knife or salvaging tools equipped. Is that an oversight or a particularity of the way Eclipse works?

A: No, that’s just an oversight. (Noted)

Q: Is there any way to successfully explore the new Sudden Darkness in the records office?

A: You mean like in a physical sense or meta-physical sense? If you are trying to explore it in a physical sense you might be missing the point. Quite a bit of stuff going on there, it’s more an emotional truth than a physical place to hang out, but with Eclipse those can get mixed up.

Q: It's still early in the Oldtown contest but I've found myself using cyberware on all of my runs so far — which makes me wonder if a cyberless conduct is out there or coming soon?

A: I have always meant to include that – not currently in the game but coming soon. Try to add with new seasons.

Q: I found a new technique from Mirror Gazing recently (Inhuman Strength) - is there much more unique stuff out there to find from Mirror Gazing?

A: There’s a lot of crazy stuff. I feel like it’s been pretty well handled though, in the sense that it’s been pretty carefully tested, and tend to get bug reports when something doesn’t work or is sad. But yeah Inhuman Strength is pretty cool, you might see some enemies using that as well.

Q: Lastly, in general, how do you feel about suggestions for new results from Mirror Gazing? There were a few opponents that were pretty hard to test but didn't have any special results — but I guess they can't all be special. (The painted sky, the phoenix, the hammer, etc.)

A: There is sort of intended to be a mix there. I put things in when inspired which is pretty vague criteria. I don’t usually love notes like that, it really depends on the mood where it hits me. Sometimes it’s like “ugh, why, I don’t want to deal with this right now even though it’s a good idea” and sometimes it’s “oh man that’s a great idea”. I guess the other part of it is – there are some very long-term things in the works with Mirror Gazing, which you can’t finish yet, you can’t even see the pieces yet. Literally no clues right now. Things that don’t seem special right now but once everything is in play might be relevant years from now, so the code is in there as each piece goes in. So yeah, look forward to that in 2020.

Q: Since it's the first podcast of 2016, I suppose it's time to carry forward the tradition of the annual spading round up with the unearthly items from 2015. Costume crown - It feels like we've got a pretty good handle on this, except for the specifics of what's happening when you 'use' the coronation crown. Anything that we might have missed while plotting to murder one another?

A: Well, the use of the crown – for any unearthly item with multiple forms, they are untradable except for the base form (pet peeve to make it easier to find). Use link is mostly there to turn it back, and who knows, might hide a little something.

Q: ferry coin - Between Offer Passage, Watery Passage, Prepared Coin and healing back from a loss it feels like we've probably found a good chunk of the content here, but we're still missing some things on specific mechanics. Would you be willing to share if it's possible to control, or at least determine in advance, whether you'll get Offer Passage, Prepared Coin, or some healing on a loss?

A: Those are pretty programmatic. If there is a random factor in there, it’s pretty small. It’s primarily determined though maybe not easy. If you know all of your stats going into the script, it should be pretty clear. Yeah, it’s entirely deterministic. Not necessarily control it easily or at all but factors that can steer it.

Q: classic writing desk - Definitely still some mysteries here. It seems like we've got a handle on controlling the fiction effect you get, and on the writing you generate. It's possible there may be some specifics to the latter we don't quite get that would help with juggling multiple effects, though. The big thing, however, is the Think Harder option with both a fiction and a story effect active, where we haven't made much progress. Care to offer any hints?

A: That is a big twisted bit of puzzling that people may or may not enjoy delving into. There is some payoff at the end if you unravel it but like writing, it is a very personal journey. If you don’t enjoy the journey, I don’t recommend it.

Q: dueling jacket - What we've found seems to make this a perfectly solid item, particularly in a reset context. For my curiosity here, perhaps I'll ask in a roundabout way, so you can answer without giving too much directly away. Are there any avatars related to 1 coin unearthly items?

A: I don’t believe there are any. The might be somewhere along the way if it was really appropriate but I don’t know.

Q: ecofuel flamethrower - Fills a niche fairly well, has a number of techniques and we've found an avatar from it. As a 2 coin item though, I can't help but wonder if there's something else in there that we've just completely missed so far.

A: No, there’s sort of the process of getting the techniques and the avatar which you got so it’s less of a complicated programming puzzle than some.

Q: Tactical goggles - I feel like we may be missing something here. Another recipe, maybe?

A: Maybe? And maybe something more past that. Still a bit more to be discovered there.

Q: Trick or Treat - We've got a usable approach for dealing with this item, although lacking in some details and probably not entirely correct. But we don't understand how one gets a rubber mask, there's still some items missing, and I'm convinced there must be an avatar here, somehow. Are the missing items similar to the Harvester library, where you need to do specific types of things between Harvester visits to get them?

A: There is at least one item for sure similar to the library that is missed. If you understand how to get the library it should more or less pop out. But if you don’t get that it might seem more like an easter egg almost. If you understand the mechanics there are hopefully enough breadcrumbs.

Q: It came up in chat, so I was wondering if you'd had any additional thoughts on a 'pet' system. It feels like the Mushroom Ally effect and maybe the SDnano technique were experiments, but I'm curious if you've had any more recent ideas.

A: There are some things that touch on what the pets will end up doing. The ecofuel flamethrower is not entirely unpetlike (feeding it and it gives you benefits). I’m giving myself a while before really working on Downtown, putting in some other thing and pets might be one of those.

Q: Also on the topic of old ideas, do you still think custom player titles will be a thing at some point?

A: Yeah, that shouldn’t be a problem. (Noted.) Fallen off the radar but would like it some point.

Q: While collecting the Fangs' debt, if the Dock Chat encounter ends up in a fight (instead of a straight drop), does the credits dropped by the opponents still count towards the completion of the quest?

A: If it is actually counting credits, I can almost guarantee no. Let me take a look. I believe that the fighting should actually count. It doesn’t directly count the credits dropped but keeps a running tally of how much fear you’ve delivered.

Q: In the Everyday Disco encounter, with spooky music playing, I wanted to start a fight. However, even with 28 reflexes, the opponent ran. Is it possible to catch them?

A: No, they’re annoying little jerks. But making fun of them comes from love. Mason jars and moustaches.

Q: In the same encounter, heavy music + clubbing outfit yields 2 opponents. With harsh music + punk outfit, there's still only one punk. Is it possible to fight two?

A: If I recall correctly, there just aren’t as many punks in the place. (Checks) Hehe hahahahaha. No, looks like you just get the one punk.

Q: Thanks for the hint about the Unreal Drip. My gut feeling that this is somehow related to the Dying Artist. If not, could we please have another vague hint?

A: I mean it’s in a… radius around the Dying Artist. Adjacent. Not like you need the Dying Artist buff. Though that would be pretty funny. You can only get this for ten rounds, and not get beaten up, and only then can you craft the unreal drip. It’s not quite that mean.

Q: Never followed up on this. Puyo doing better now?

A: Yeah, she’s doing a lot better. Some rough health issues. We’re not linked into some psychic thing but we both had some very poor moods in early part of the year. But she’s working on an art request for next month’s donation item, some stuff I want to put into Oldtown, and an avatar request from one of our new players, and some other stuff.

Q: Did you ever manage to do beach related things? You don't have to answer if you don't want to.

A: Related to family stuff, Florida, etc. [35:00] Highlight was sandcastles.

Q: We've got even more poetry stuff now. So much poetry stuff. A suspicious amount of poetry stuff. How deep does the poetry hole go and is there something shiny at the end? Is the poetry hole like that cave you mentioned that unreal drip is hiding in?

A: I would not be surprised if I just kept digging that poetry hole deeper. I just really enjoy that. No real defined end so could keep adding.

Q: Classic Writing Desk. No one really gets how it works. I can work down energy of Speculative Fiction and Technical Story from 20 -> 1 and have him say the stories ideas kicking don't amount to much. Work down energy of the previous Fiction and Story from 60 to 4 doing nothing but hacking in the Happy Hour, the Computer Lab, and then the Tainted Shoreline and have him say "It's all wrong! Poor timing! Confused prose!". Then try again with Fantastic Fiction and Technical Writing and have him say the exact same thing. What is going oooon??? Any hints.

A: Crypto up here seems to know how it works… though I suppose you’re talking about the same thing.

Q: There's a bit of weirdness with the Classic Writing Desk. You have to get a bunch of etheric at once if you want to leverage your Fiction effect into one of the stories. But, since you'll always be etheric, especially when going on a writing binge, you'll always have Incoherent Writing tainting your writing pool. This seems off. As it seems you need a lot of energy of effect to do something which means a lot of etheric. Is this how this really works?

A: I mean there’s a push and pull there for sure. And whether you’re etheric has some effect on that.

Q: A different unearthly. The Shifty Maze. It's kind of crazy with the number of mobs at the lower levels. Maybe take a page out of other infinite dungeon playbooks when they need stronger mobs and do the palette swap? You know the rat you're fighting is the real deal when he's hazel instead of brown.

A: I mean, it’s a little weird when you have to use the same art because we’re B&W. But it would be funny if you mouse over it and see it’s The Red Rat that looks the same as The Tan Rat from ten levels earlier.

Q: Lots of Candy Crush and that one castle building game on smart phones these days. Less webcomics and Newsgrounds. How's that Metroplexity mobile port going? Seems like the best bet for growing the audience. We can all go and give it 5 stars!

A: There are really two fundamental stumbling blocks – the important one is that I need to just learn what I need to do. Teach myself some new programming methodology and language, etc. There’s also a project that Puyo and Liz want me to work on too. The other stumbling block is petty which is I need a spare $100 to give to Apple.

Q: You have naysayers. Those who say mobile Metroplexity can't be done. Their biggest nitpick is how inventory management would work on mobile. I have thought on this. Have you looked at how other mobile games do inventory management? Kim Kardashian Hollywood seems to have a good system worked out. What are your thoughts on it?

A: I actually play a lot of mobile games. […]

Q: How many sites did people end up infecting in the infection hay day? I've been patching week after week after week and there's always more! Always! It's actually kind of unbelievable.

A: That is a good question. Don’t quote this but the answer that jumped to mind was 3062. It can still spread though.

Q: When no one has been hacking for a while, you can "activate" a couple sites such that the university crosslinks only point to a few sites. Very helpful when one of those sites has goodies! What tends to happen once you hack for a while, though, is that a bunch of trash sites get activated and added to the crosslinks pool. Making crosslinks a rather poor resource. Is there a way to "deactivate" those trash sites? Deleting all their routines doesn't seem to do the trick.

A: That is interesting. It… should. “There’s nothing left of this system, it’s probably time to move on.” That system should probably be gone forever unless it’s followed by “It’ll probably restart shortly”.

Q: Skills 65-67 and 72&73 were previously stated to be unobtainable. Are they now obtainable with the Oldtown skills update?

A: Well, I can say that none of them are in the new Oldtown update. 68 is obtainable, which you didn’t ask about.

Q: Are skills 88 & 89 obtainable?

A: 89 is not, 88 is but is tied into an unearthly item, doesn’t count towards the skill contest. There’s sort of a mix of skills that – well the skills are done but linked to content that’s not.

Q: Is the unstable draught supposed to be listed as a chemistry component?

A: Yep. (According to a later podcast this is wrong; was supposed to be the maze fang.)

Q: The Glittering Ecofuel technique doesn't seem to do anything special compared to most of the other Ecofuel techniques. Is there something we're missing with this?

A: It’s sparkly. Come on!

Q: What would you think of Lattes! serving special holiday offerings like gingerbread lattes?

A: I feel generally positively about that. I would probably want to code it in so I don’t have to think about it.

Q: The vigilante recording says that the big guns of the Third Eye are in Oldtown, but I don't think we've seen any activity there yet. Are they hiding out somewhere?

A: Yes. Yes they are. There’s actually still some stuff, I mean, we’re done with Oldtown in the sense that the quest is updated but still a lot of stuff I’d like to add.

Coming up: Downtown is way off, want to pick up some pieces first. The big thing I want to handle sooner rather than later is Novos PvP. Some other skills, etc. Getting unearthly items out too. Trying for 10 this year instead of the 6 or 7.

Hopefully everyone’s enjoying the shifting maze. There’s some content hidden deep in the depths which I think people will enjoy. Depths don’t extend forever because of database limited.

It's a relief to get Oldtown out. Some neat things coming in Downtown, cybernetics, the Midgard HQ, some heavy hitters.

Podcast #45

Q: My campaign to crash every system has hit a wall with the Hardware Breaker. Is there any way to crash it?

A: Crashing the hardware that it's on is the suggested path. Might be a really tricky way.

Q: There haven't been any new updates from the Novos News Network lately — will it get any more updates?

A: That would not be the worst thing.

Q: Also no new updates from the general news network except from what Zack has in stock — any updates from Oldtown advancements?

A: I certainly planned to do that. So I either screwed something up or lost track of those in the Oldtown excitement.

Q: Can you discuss how Novos sites are coded up on the backend without too many spoilers? It is a… very complicated, but very interesting system.

A: The generation process is where you get most of the complexity. There's a lot of hardcoded stuff. As far as how the routines responds to things, it's a lot more nuanced than the normal stuff (which has an almost pseudo-code language to do everything) — there's too much variability in that in Novos so far. On top of that there's a lot of traits about the individual sites which are feeding into it. Stuff like the interests of students are assigned separately to sites and it pulls up the stuff that they are talking about or doing from that. Even now, there's substantially more code for Novos than the old system, which is good I think. Each routine has its own block of code associated with it, and a some of them have a lot more, the shared files is a huge mass of conditioned code.

Q: The Antique Control Gloves occasionally crash — is there anything we can do to avoid this other than (not) using them altogether?

A: There's a little bit about how you use them (which tools you use), and also a way to reduce the chance but not totally avoid. I think that makes them interesting, fun.

Q: When viewing the Shared Files, there's a message about "searching the whole catalog". Someone else reported "searching the whole index of results". Did the terminology change there or are there subtle differences in how we view things?


Q: There are several routines — Midgard Hound, Handcoded Claw, Obscuring Veil, etc — that sometimes bring up defenses if we attack them. Any hints about if this is something we can control or at least anticipate?

A: Most of the time — this is not a hard and fast coded rule — but as a general thought, most of those are hints that you can back-door them somehow.

Q: The Fang PDA has 20 hardening, which is on the order of 10 times what I typically need in a given hacking session — is that okay for Novos? The staring suite of programs seem way too powerful compared to everything else because hardening is normally a non-issue.

A: No, when I was going through the old stuff that just didn't get reduced. That should probably be like 4. (Fixed). Yeah, the staring programs are still probably pretty good, but I'm not going to worry about it too much - hardening will come up more so leaning on that for a long-term solution as you go into Oldtown won't necessarily carry you that far. And something's always going to be the best so might as well be an interesting interaction between an unearthly item and a quest item.

Q: Once we get in the records vault, there doesn't seem to be any way to get back to the office. Where is the other side of that vault door?

A: I guess I can add that in. One of those things that's easy to forget stuff that you're fairly confident people won't care about, but that does kind of matter there, going through the door can actually be functionally different than going back to the street. I should probably add that in.

Q: Midgard doesn't seem in a particular hurry to repair the giant hole you make with the BigDig in the side of the vault. Wouldn't someone repair that after a couple days or at least put up some guards?

A: I mean, if you want your life more difficult, I can always do that. You're not wrong, there should be a certain level of kicking the hornet's nest, partly because it was in that no-mans-land of broken and undiscovered up until recently, hasn't gotten the same post-rollout love that some of the other parts have gotten.

Q: We've found one new skill from Oldtown, but presumably there are more to go. I made some progress infecting the office workers but I can't get the vine to get into the vault. Any hints?

A: There certainly is an interaction there, taking over the cubes, that I think is pretty interesting. Not necessarily take you into vault mechanics or skills necessarily. That being said, there's a bunch more Oldtown skills and sidequests I want to put in. And actually a completely unrelated sidequests in the docks.

Q: The survivors are pretty content to sit back and let us do most of the work. I wish I could ask them for some more advice though — can we do some combat training from Hel to learn new techniques, or get a few unique crafting recipes from Lo, or learn some hacking tricks from Dr. A?

A: Yeah actually, now that you mention it. They're mostly there as choosing a path through the rest of the game. But certainly once you've made that choice and gone on to Oldtown or Downtown, could share some wisdom in their areas of expertise.

Q: Back in 2012, I asked if Open Parasol was available from the subway tunnels, and you vaguely hinted that it might be. Later that year the Art Museum was released and Open Parasol was found there. Is there still some unknown way to get it from the Subway damsel as well?

A: I wasn't entirely happy to get it in the subway, so I actually replaced it by the museum one. So not currently available in the subway.

Q: The Arsonist Training skill has a picture of a flamethrower, but we still only have the one flamethrower (Ecofuel flamethrower). Are there more fire weapons to find or planned?

A: There will eventually be more dealings with organizations that favor fire weapons, like how the Fangs like ranged weapons and the bums I guess that use melee, but you can probably imagine others will have other approaches to combat. As far as iconic flamethrowers, the blind legion are fans, and in Omnitech special forces, but it will be quite a while before you run into those.

Q: We're coming up on four years since the dorms exploded and they're still scrambling to finish building it. Will we see that finished soon? I wanna loot some hipsters and punk students' dorms.

A: [Sidenote about Columbus.]

Q: Metroplexity has some pretty graphic descriptions of violence, gore, needles, etc. Is there anything that you are personally squeamish about?

A: There was definitely a time where I was like "Maggots, ugh". When I was in college, Lyz and myself and another roommate - Lyz is a thoughtful responsible person and did a big portion of the chores, did a lot of the cooking, housemate and I would alternate doing the dishes. Dishes piled up and went to do them there's this little maggot crawling across, and it was adorable. Now - do composting so big horrible grub are a sign of messing up the composting but fine. Used to be really bad with needles. Most of the stuff that actually bothers me is very internal, for the post part it's wow, that just came out of my head, that's not a cool thing to be considering. Not a squeamishness so much any more, more of an existential horror, hehe. When you know yourself and now sure if you want to.

Q: Can you say what our single biggest mis-understanding about a system is? (Other than Code Finesse, I know we don't understand that).

A: I the understanding of fishing has been pretty off, but I would have to look at the current research. I know there has been a great deal of effort put into that in the last year or so.

Q: What's up Kinak?

A: Helping out Lyz with the Reasonrally.org - Bill Nye, Wu Tang, Johnny Depp, John de Lancie. Reading Terry Pratchett. Two pathfinder games.

Q: I remember a while ago you answered that the first few zones would be water heavy which explains why Ocean Eyes seems to have such an upper hand over Fae Eyes. But that later areas would be more tunnel heavy to sorta compensate. Wasn't Oldtown supposed to be one of those places? Doesn't seem to have much in the way of explorable tunnels.

A: I was more thinking about downtown, though there is a little bit of Fae stuff in Oldtown.

Q: Where has Mag gone?

A: People come and go, I don't typically keep a particularly close eye on it. Assume he'll come back at some point and tell me about all the typos.

Q: Zack mentions that Midgard is rumored to melt down unearthly coins for the metal they're made from. Is there anything to those rumors?

A: Not anything you can interact with yet, but I would not be terribly surprised to find out the horrible truth.

Q: Also while going back and reviewing what Zack can talk about, he mentions living in Oldtown, and his house getting bulldozed. Did he used to live in what's now the construction site?

A: Yep.

Q: It looks like it's been a while since we last asked, so do we now have the tools to make getting the Firetamer skill reasonable?

A: I feel like that skill has been obtained so I'm going to go with 'yes'. Going to double check something real quick here. Hmmmm, maybe not. It's not quite as hard as it looks, but doesn't look like anyone's gotten it yet.

Q: How would you feel about an equivalent to the Pep Program which causes anger instead of satisfaction? Even if it had a penalty on it, a steady source of rage would be nice.

A: Ah, rage. I would not be surprised if something like that existed somewhere in the world, but not a lot of call for it permanently.

Q: What process do you use for determining the numbers required for things involving participation from multiple players, like helping Roi with hacking, thresholds for things happening during Halloween, or the like?

A: The least painful way is to set it up in opposition, so with a lot of the halloween stuff, it's not an arbitrary threshold, more about getting more than the opposing force. Beyond that, I have to sort of eyeball that. Generally done pretty okay, but would rather have a conflict instead.

Q: How long ago were the Orbital Wars? There's still veterans around, but it seems like it's been long enough for a lot of media to be created, even movies which can be considered 'classic'.

A: I think of it, if you think of it anything in the range World War II to Vietnam War, and the Orbital Wars were quite a long time. Looking at Vietnam or World War II, quite a lot of movies. I feel like probably the best analogy to my mind is Vietnam, pull a lot of personal experiences from. Propaganda effect is a bit different but grew up around a lot of veterans who served (my dad, his friends). The Orbital Wars are not modeled after Vietnam at all, they're there more to explain what happened with the nation states, corporation rights (Shadowrun). But when I'm pulling chunks of war out, for media a lot of it is WWII, united states is less of a fan of talking about Vietnam. But yeah, 40-60 years ago, the vets are on the older side.

Q: What is Jess majoring in?

A: You know, I feel like I decided that at some point. I feel like it's actually really obvious from the books she's selling. Yeah, she's rocking some kind of STEM degree. Probably Electrical Engineering, just looking at her books. There might have been some complicated answer to that but a large part of that answer is EE.

Q: Will we at some point be able to progress further with Andrea, looking into our nature, or will we have to search elsewhere for answers?

A: It's intended at some point a little side quest with her, but not an end-all answer so yes to both.

Q: Can a coat of defensive circuitry unlocked in a previous reset be upgraded to a coat of masterful circuitry, or do you need to go through the entire unlock process in order?

A: That is an interesting question. I would have to dig into the code — probably 75% chance it would let you pick up where you left off.

Q: What's up?

A: Reasonrally. Pathfinder. A couple angry days this week. Canoeing a bit.

Q: Is the Unreal Drip obtained via a Chemistry recipe, something like IV Bag plus another item?

A: Yeah, but fair warning, there's some sort of thing that you put into the iv which needs a thing which you haven't found. Like if unreal drip is the adorable nesting doll, you need to find the big outer doll.

Q: When selling stuff for Golden Tickets, is the occasional "She even kicks in a little extra" message completely random?

A: I mean, there is a random factor but there's definitely a pattern of sorts if you dig into it.

Q: I've recently started to get into hacking, and found that Decompilers are no longer a thing since December. This means I can't make a Blackthorn v6, because that requires an Advanced Interpreter, which I can't make without a Language Interpreter, and that requires a Decompiler. The question is: what gives? No wait, let me rephrase that: when will Oldos be completely retired (so all these tantalizing but unobtainable items can be marked as such), or will you please make it Decompilers obtainable somehow?

A: I plan to make Oldos gone soon. Sometime pretty shortly after the next unearthly item comes out (which is taking somewhat longer than I hoped, Puyo is behind on art). But those should be able to be flagged as totally un-gettable soon. Looks like that particular one is already un-gettable. If it's not related to the pvp stuff that I am in the process of switching over, it's probably not going to be available.

Q: In hacking, is there some mechanism that makes the player better after some (or a lot of) grinding?

A: Not really, you sort of have the skills and programs you need to get, but it has a fairly shallow ceiling other than figuring out what's going on. No hacking skill counter that makes you better, though there are some hidden secret counters, like you finally understand this cool thing. One of those might loop back a little bit but in the main body of hacking there's not anything like the fishing skill that just requires a lot of time. Mostly just down to player skill.

Wrapping up: donation item coming up, a side quest wandered off and took on a life of its own, end of the Novos PvP stuff, closing the door on Oldos, then seriously looking at Downdown. Still need to wring a Downtown map out of Puyo. Thanks everyone.

Podcast #46

Laptops stolen, updating security, changed passwords.

Q: Since it looks like I'm starting things off, how have things been and how was GenCon?

A: GenCon was really weird but really good. I had thing coming out which I couldn’t talk about before, but I did some contract work for Paizo doing some micro-adventures for Pathfinder. Good food. Pokemon Go.

Q: Since you brought it up, got anything to say about the upcoming unearthly item? (Or the current one, if it's out by the time this is answered!)

A: It is out (personal tree), and I hope people are enjoying it. It’s a weird one. Due the nature of it, the content is dripping out pretty slowly. Don’t think it will appeal to everyone but for those that do, pretty low maintenance.

Q: Aside from the unearthly item, anything you'd care to share about what you're currently working on for Metroplexity?

A: Getting my feet back under me. Working on a titles system, like avatars, some unlockable and some custom ones through Zack — next couple weeks. Also doing some work on Southside quest, there’s been a couple pretty good suggestions recently, I want to go in and make that a little more forceful. There’s a point where you can just be spinning in circles, which is fine as a whole but rather not have that as the first quest. There’s some mechanics in Southside that don’t exactly match the fiction.

Q: Are we missing something cool because we haven't figured out how to pin down the jellyfish from the Moodlight glove?

A: Good question. Jellyfish are pretty cool, not sure if there’s actually a way to pin them down. Let’s see…it looks like there might be a little error here. There’s quite a bit of stuff going on with the jellyfish, one of which was sort of broken, one of which was available but not discovered.

Q: Any hints about what might happen with this year's Halloween?

A: I’ve been starting to think about it. It will probably be in Oldtown again and mechanically I think some of the underlying stuff will be pretty similar. Not entirely sure where in Oldtown it will be. Could be replay of last year or move it across the street. Depends how much energy I have. Balance it with other stuff to work on.

Q: Is it in fact possible to pull a rabbit out of the trick top hat?

A: Another excellent question. Probably not but it seems like something I would do. I don’t think so but would have to do more digging. I remember there being cool stuff going on from a design perspective.

Q: Is there any Metroplex Day content that we haven't found yet?

A: Most of the Metroplex Day stuff is pretty — I don’t want to say in your face — but things are pretty well mapped out. I haven’t added a ton of secretive stuff lately.

Q: What's the deal with those darn dorms?

A: You know, contractors.

Q: Are we missing anything big with the glowing bauble or jar of poison?

A: I seem to remember there’s some cool glowing bauble stuff. The jar of poison is fairly straightforward. Some interactions with that quest. I don’t think I added anything new to that and it’s a pretty old item. A lot of the older stuff is a bit simpler as I’ve built up an array of tools moving forward.

Q: How's the laptop/door recovery situation going? Sorry to hear about that.

A: I got my new laptop in yesterday. [… listen for more details. More or less back in action …] Speaking of - Lyz will be starting an exciting new job shortly.

Q: Do you look at any aggregate data about how far people get into quests before getting stuck? Can you tell if there's a specific point where new people don't come back?

A: The data exists. I don’t have a report that I run on it. I should, but haven’t. There are a couple points where I’ve done some time-based studies rather than specifically quests.

Q: In Novos, now that some actions explicitly display their "Unsubtle", what are your thoughts on making those show up for all sources of Unsubtle?

A: I don’t really like it. There’s a certain point where it gets cluttery, and the number you are looking for is the alert in the end. It would largely be like displaying the enemy’s power with every attack. It isn’t quite like in normal combat where there’s actually stuff added together. The unsubtle numbers aren’t that meaningful by themselves, they get added together into a pile. Don’t want to break it down because that would screw up how Incognito works.

Q: Looking for missing Oldtown skills — Is there anything that rolled initially with Oldtown that got new functionality added, or are the undiscovered skills all from new stuff?

A: I believe there’s some of both. Some stuff that was like “that should really grant a skill” and some that was added.

Q: What's the deal with rats? There's some vague hints that they don't get along with the fae. Will we see any rat leaders or colonies to explore?

A: I’m surprised you don’t see more rats in the game. The majority of rats in Metroplex won’t give you a lot of problems. That said, should probably have more of them in the background as world building. Puyo loves rodents (and spiders). The Bipedal Rat is loosely inspired by her Pathfinder game. I wouldn’t say the relationship with the Fae is as toxic as the relationship with the aquatics but there’s always some underground conflicts.

Q: I always wondered if we would see crazy etheric plant creatures but the misty offices answered that. Are there any other etheric creature types or ecosystems that we can expect to see or you would like to add?

A: There’s lots, both in the sense that there’s a lot of etheric creatures. Only a few spread their tendrils widely like the Fae, but a lot of one-off I’d like to show more of like the presence in Southside Park, the Valentine Killer, Force Beast, etc. Not all boss-level per se, but there’s a lot of unique individual entities. Still a couple major things undiscovered.

Q: The tome of binding seems pretty well-spaded out, as we've killed nearly every monster available with it. Any secrets still lurking behind its innocuous facade? Anything to do with binding humans?

A: It does have limitations on what it can bind. Those follow its own internal logic, not sure if that makes sense or not. I’d be surprised to find it binding humans, not surprised to find it binding things that look like humans.

Q: What happened to 20th century music by the time of Metroplexity? Is 80s rock considered classical music by this point? Would people think I'm a dinosaur if my character made references to contemporary music?

A: Interesting question. I think that that sort of gets into how music is working now. If you look at 50s, 80s, now, and project outward. 50s very radio driven, not quite homogenous. Back room driven. Variety shows? 80s have radio dominance, a lot more variety in personal listening with tapes, etc. Looking at now, we have a very different music ecosystem, even compared to the 90s, say. Increasingly fragmented fan base, so much “on demand” media. Pandora, Youtube videos, it’s become much more insular. Everybody’s exposed to the same music through the 80s; there’s still superstars now but you can get into very specific things. Projecting that forward, say, 2010s to 2040s: it will fuzz out a lot, there’s a much stronger sub-cultural component a lot. The “Oldies” may last a lot longer than you expect. I expect a lot more 80’s music will carry over better because things are becoming so individualized. There are some strong cultural forces in Metroplexity we do not have now (Omnitech, Zaibatsu, smaller corps). Particularly Zaibatsu is interested in created that cultural touchstone for its customers so it can sell them nostalgia back and peddle new. Advertising / cultural imprints / increasingly fragmented society. So yeah, it wouldn’t be super weird to drop 80s references but only the dankest. Some of it may be in public domain.

Q: It seems the unlocking masterful coat of circuitry either requires many separate factors in unison or just a lot of hacking grinding to be done. Or am I totally off base?

A: Closer to many separate factors in unison. Not particularly grindy. May be difficult to do and take many tries to get everything to line up.

Q: Any thoughts towards limited time events integrated with gang warfare? It seems hacking has had a lot of fingers in event pies recently, and the PvP scene has been a bit stale. Do you believe the oldtown PvP zone will revive the PvP scene?

A: There is some degree of integration, I do like to do that. Varies from event to event. Revives is a separate questions, it’s not going to utterly change how PvP works, it’s just another zone with its quirks.

Q: It seems available Stealth techniques very heavily favor the lower chain positions. Are more lurking on the higher chains? Any hints as to get ahold of some? Especially in the coveted chain 8 slot.

A: They definitely do lean more than I would like to the low side. There’s some sort of cheaty ranged techniques in there that are stealthish. Not sure if there’s an 8. Nope, not currently any 8 but some higher ones.

Q: Would you like to congrats GoldS for something?

A: Generally does a pretty good job reporting bugs. Personal tree bug fixed.

Q: Any updates to the potential iOS port?

A: Something I’d still like to do, a question of energy to learn Swift and get good at it. Or just make a drastically different mobile friendly site. The swift stuff I’m not sure if it will be any better.

Q: From what I understand, the big thing about Novos was to better integrate hacking into the general Metroplex experience. Now that it has basically completely rolled out, are there any Novos solutions/routes to pre-Slags quests?

A: That is a damn fine question. It would make for that to start showing up in the University quest, which I haven’t thought about a great deal. Noted to think about.

Q: I'm looking at the picture again. The one of the Omnitech worker. He looks so unhappy looking. Why is he so unhappy?

A: He is doing a job that is only done by him instead of a drone is because he is cheaper than a drone.

Q: In real life—aka America aka the USA aka 'murika—construction companies have strong ties to the mafia. Can we expect a similar tie-in in Metroplex?

A: There is definitely some mafia connections with specifically the construction in Oldtown. Should get some in there before Downtown goes in. Strongest mafia presence there downtown.

Q: A podcast or two ago you said for that special occasion you would lay down the vague man mask. I feel like that was a wasted opportunity on my part. I expect no special consideration here but allow me to ask one question I would have asked then. How would you describe your hopes and dreams?

A: In a broader sense, I am a man of simple needs in a lot of ways. I really want to just continue designing games, and a roof over my head and food in my stomach. Amazing spouse and cats. A large list of projects I would like to do — do an actual iPhone game. Romantic westernized dating sim? More Pathfinder stuff. As long as I can remember I want to do games, so most of my hopes and dreams are doing pretty well on that front. That said, Lyz brings homes most of the bread, Metroplexity and Twilight Heroes brings in way less than a living wage. Questioning if there are some other revenue streams. At the moment it looks like worst-case, I’ll just do more free-lance programming projects.

Q: Let's touch base on some old friends. The Hammer and the weird mutated son guy of the Bum King. Both said, in specific circumstances, that they would come in a time of need. Is the time at hand? Or is it still to be continued.

A: The Hammer connection is— it wouldn’t surprise me if— I mean neither of them are right now. The Hammer connection I would expect to see sooner. Not sure if I want to vague-guy that. You’re going Downtown and the Hammer has some connections there.

Q: I noticed something suspicious pop up in the omnimall. Looks like someone unloading laptops. Have you checked the serial numbers on those?

A: Slightly funny/terrifying story there. Can’t find the stolen laptops without the serial numbers, and Lyz managed to find all of them.

Q: Can we get "I voted" stickers for participating in Zack's house of coins rotation voting ting?

A: That sounds delightful. Noted. I love the I voted stickers.

Q: Does the misty offices have more to offer us?

A: I’m not quite sure what all people have found. The tendrils extent a bit further than you might think.

Q: The Zack voting is hard to find unless you know exactly where to look. Do you think making it more apparent would be out of order?

A: I’m a little torn on that. On one hand, it’s a function that’s fairly important. But it is a pretty esoteric bit of the game design. Worth thinking about.

Q: Do you think maybe we were a bit quick to hype for a cyberless conduct in-run? Shortly after it was added in, we debugged a new way into the vaults that didn't involve cyberware at all.

A: Yeah, there’s a couple of those. 3 or 4 or something. I don’t necessarily think that it needed to go in then but people were exciting about it. Going forward, Downtown and such, the more the question will have an impact.

Q: Hidden Counters vs Uncounted. There are a few areas where certain effects seem to trigger or even get noted in the event description, but they don't seem to do anything. Can I bother you to try to clarify some of those?

Q: The Spectral Patient doesn't seem to respond to Silver Weapons (And it's not easy taking him down with an antique letter opener), is there a point to fighting beyond getting the Last Meal?

A: The silver thing is not a general spectre thing, it’s specific to certain types of spectres.

Q: Is the Last Meal supposed to have any triggers with getting knocked out? I've not spotted any.

A: That would be funny, but don’t think it does.

Q: Atlas Pills break your bones with the muscle surge, and take a LOT of body. Sure, it's a super steroid of some kind, but, again, you've told us to look out for oddly expensive/painful things. Counter, uncounted?

A: I don’t think there’s anything too crazy going on.

Q: Similar vein, Megavitamins. One body per exp, which isn't horrible, but there doesn't seem to be an associated trigger like with Orange Juice. Are megavitamins somehow less vitamin-y than orange juice? A hidden counter? Uncounted?

A: The OJ is a whole separate issue. The mega vitamins might have something hidden in them. Ooooold, item #80. No, but I just buffed them a little bit.

Q: When you let the hipster student in the computer lab talk, he burns himself out and 'settles down to do some coding'. And later on he says he no longer needs a cheatsheet. But you can't give him cheatsheets while he's working. A hidden 'Tutor' or 'Teacher' skill? Or just flavor text?

A: Um, I think that’s just flavour.

Q: Veering off slightly, what's a secret that's not yet discovered in Metroplex that you're amazed we haven't discovered yet? (Be as vague as you want. Codenames probably are best)

A: There is one that… I don’t want to say that I’m amazed exactly. I’ve been hanging up arrows on it and people are like “Oh, Kinak thinks this is a funny running joke or something” that is not really a running a joke at all, but I guess it has retroactively become a running joke because I’ve put up so many arrows about it.

Q: What's your most anticipated discovery that we've missed so far?

A: That one is up there. There’s definitely some narrative stuff that’s hidden in a particular quite old item that really gives some meaty backstory stuff if interpreted correctly. There’s one thing that I keep forgetting about that is 100% an easter egg that is actual honest to god easter egg that is reference to two awesome things or maybe a third awesome thing, that I thought was funny.

Q: We have Halloween coming up, and Christmas. Any other world events coming up? (I'd appreciate a warning so I'm not mid-run)

A: No with Halloween and Christmas, that’s the world event listing. I would like to start working on some downtown stuff before year end, probably unlikely. That will take a path very similar to Oldtown stuff, may take a lot longer because there is so much going on there. There’s a lot of piece that need to go in. At the same time, a lot I would like to plug into Oldtown, Docks, etc. January’s suck. There’ll be quite a bit of Oldtown resets to go. A lot of new pseudo-contacts to meet or kill.


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