Podcasts (2020)


Could you expound a bit on what triggers learning different 'script' techniques given by the black tablet shard? I mean, its a legacy item but I think it could use some spading because (judging from the wiki) some triggers are unknown/unspoken.

A: Yeah, each of the possible techniques have multiple possible triggers so that might be part of why it's harder to figure out. Each of the techniques have a couple of different ways to get that, and the messages you get don't actually specify what do did to unlock them, so that makes things tricky.

Q: So far I've only got 4 of the angular script technique. I tried varying my combat style (Melee, ranged and stealth), using the technique maybe 25 times on opponents of varying creeds (etheric beasts, humans, robots) and I haven't gotten much further than getting those 4 techniques. I'm workin on it, a pointer would be super helpful but not a necessity.

A: (checks) Okay, there are some things that you can change with your deck that affect that, and there are some other triggers as well. The thing that you can change in your deck is fairly specific though and you have to dig into the underlying meaning to figure out.

Q: Edit: ok so it looks like I was just unlucky, since this post I have gotten a few more of the script techniques, still missing one, though. Since I kind of answered my first question, my second question is probably the same answer. while adventuring with the elegantly torn pants and killing varying opponents I still have not received any patches. To be honest, seeing how long it took to get my script techniques, maybe I'm just unlucky.

A: There are a lot of opponents that will not drop patches, sort of tying into the etheric beasts, humans, robots thing you were talking about eariler. Make sure you're fighting opponents that would drop patches.

Q: Yay the sun! Glad to hear the photosynthesis is kicking in again.

A: Sun shining is good while staying away from people. Doing some contracting with Nintendo (industry secrets, locked in a room).

Q: A while ago you said there was a good-sized chunk of Matsuo goodness still to be found. Was Fire Dancer it, or is there still more? Like maybe a Matsuo avatar? (And, if there isn't one, could there be?)

A: Fire Dancer was the main thing I was thinking about. A couple little bits left. No Matuso avatar currently, but that's a possibility. Either a reincarnation of Matsuo or cosplay.

Q: In 2012, you said there were two secrets in the Black Sketchbook, one "just a little hidden' and one "terrifyingly buried". Eight years (!) later, Goku finally found the "just a little hidden" one. You said the other one requires finding a fairly significant amount of non-Charnel House stuff before we can even start on it. Can we please have a hint about where to start looking for a way in to this content?

A: It requires an extremely specific item, from outside the charnel house, which might not make a lot of sense. Might make sense in retrospect. A very specific item that interacts with the charnel stuff, if you beat your head on the right rocks so to speak.

Q: If you skip this question again like you did last podcast I'll know you're avoiding answering it on purpose: back in the day you said there would someday be a skill tied to the blotted document but that you hadn't implemented it yet. Did you ever wind up implementing it?

A: No, still have not. Let me open the ceremonial note file here.

Q: Item #1935 is smack-dab in the middle of items related to the coat of mysterious circuitry. Is it part of the coat content, or is this just a coincidence? In either case, is it something we can get?

A: Let me look. There are occasionally gaps in the item table. That is not actually a gap. It's sort of thematically related to the coat of mysterious circuitry, it's part of something else that I was working on at the same time, but it does not directly require or interact with the coat. That one is - hm. I'm not going to say it's as mean as the terrifying buried one I was just talking about, but if that one is S tier, this one is A tier. Or if that's A, this one is B.

Q: Similarly, item #1313 is in there with Midgard Player content. Is this one a coincidence?

A: I'm almost positive it's a similar situation. Hahaha. Ooh, okay, let me actually do some sleuthing here. Okay, that actually is related. If I've given an answer before like "you've got 2 big things to figure out from the Midgard player", you actually have one more. I had completely forgotten about that item, some tricky stuff I love and makes me happy.

Q: Using four Midgard Player recordings in the same day gives a message about how you really understand the recordings and you can almost feel your heart beating along with them. We've never figured out what this does, but it's seems significant. Any hint on what's going on here and how big a deal it is?

A: (checks) The message that you are looking at there is - . Ah that whole set of messages are sort of tied together into a system. That message itself doesn't mean a ton, I'd go as far as to say it doesn't mean anything. But as an indicator of where you are on the track, it might be significant. The stuff that comes after it is generally (the following paragraphs) are more relevant. It's trying to steer you a bit.

Q: No rush, but at some point I imagine we'll be voting on the next legacy unearthly items to bring back into rotation. So, in accordance with relatively new-fangled but still traditional tradition, how about a roundup of spading status on all of the contenders?

A: Unearthly releases have slowed down evidently, partially busy with other work and focusing on Patreon requests. I'm more than happy to put in more free content for everyone if patrons want it, and the Patreon is covering server costs so that's great. So even if I was pushing out unearthly items every month, it wouldn't necessarily be realistic for paying the bills. That said, it means that things aren't rotating a lot and that's kind of a bummer. I was considering doing having: always having the most recent 5 or maybe 3, and then have the rotation in the back happen automatically, once a month maybe, regardless of what I'm doing. Some tricky stuff, not sure exactly what would happen if pushing out new unearthly items. Probably if new item comes out, it would be part of that season, and then when the season changes, it would clear out the last newest item from the store, so that I don't have to get items done for the start of a month. Been kicking that around. To have the rotations be a bit more lively because we've been stuck on that for a while. It would be a decent about of work but let me know what you think.

Q: Red-lensed goggles - Since the last time you mentioned these on a podcast we found the kraken's pearl and the tricksy bonus XP from using science-y techniques. The Academy laughed, laughed when we said we could figure this one out completely. But we showed them! We showed them ALL! Muahahaha! (Or did we?)

A: There might be the very last thing. No, I think you actually have that more or less figured out. The only hanging thing there is I'm really tempted to add some cooking content in there, maybe when it rotates in.

Q: Antique floor mirror - OK, I know there is more to find here. My understanding is that what's left to find requires cross-pollination among the different seasons. And pointers to get us looking at this item again?

A: So, the major things that are undiscovered, one [category] of them is very tricky. Requires a lot of - sort of what I was talking about the runes before before, I don't want to say deeper meaning, but the way that things work in the story is informing the unlocks. So there is a pretty serious one that involves stuff within the mirror and also outside, and how those interplay in a pretty deep way. The other category of thing also kind of involves stuff outside the mirror in a way, in that it doesn't require adventures in the mirror, but taking a different look at crafting and getting into the right groove with that. Was kind of expecting people to figure out at first but looking back, I'm like, why did I ever expect people to figure that out?

Q: Dancing hut figure - This is a one coin item. We know about three techniques, an item, and an encounter. Have we found everything, or is there still more to do in the Striding Hut?

A: There is one sort of cute interaction that I think you're missing. Not like an amazing secret, borderline easter egg. Some day someone will stumble upon it.

Q: Tattered horror paperback - Last time this came up you said there was still "some meta stuff" to discover. Did we find it all? If not, what kind of thing counts as "meta" here?

A: There are some sort of underlying patterns in how certain numbers are generated I'm not sure are fully understood, but not sure if that really counts. I think you've got that pretty well in hand.

Q: Trick top hat - Last time this came up we didn't know about the stage wand. But now we do! Have we made all the mysteries with this item disappear?

A: I believe you have. One of those items where you had exactly half figured out but you broke through and figured it out.

Q: Back in 2019 when the second wave of cooking went in, you said that you added three new items. We've found two since then: The strawberry and the crocodile tail. Could we have a hint on the third?

A: It's not little. Not sure, well - let's go with that. It's not little.

Q: This is less of a question and more of a suggestion, but could you make ink extract a cooking ingredient so we can make squid ink pasta? Would fit in well with Zaibatsu theme.

A: Oh yeah, squid ink pasta would be great. Have not had it so it didn't occur to me, but I'll hunt some down and try it out.

Q: Have we found all of the new spider content or is there still something skulking somewhere?

A: There is definitely some skulky content. Pretty seriously sculky content. When you find the remaining stuff that's hidden there, you'll be pretty pleased. Just need to lay your hands on the right bits and things will open up pretty rapidly from there, there's sort of a choke point.

Q: Did Halloween 2019 go the way you thought it would in terms of what we picked / built? Any big content we missed? I noticed that we didn't succeed in getting the wine to the party proper.

A: That one went in with a pretty open agenda. One of the benefits of working exclusively with one artist - there are times when I can tell Puyo, "I'm working on this big spider content" and will get like four times as much content as anything else. A lot more custom art, custom monsters than most Halloweens. Not necessarily more deep or complicated though. Compared to other Halloweens, people seemed to have a pretty good bead on what they were trying to do. A lot of results were 1:1. If you put up a lot of webs, you get a lot of webs. If you put up a lot of bats, you get a lot of bats.

Q: Is it possible at this point to fully unlock the datareader from last Halloween, or is this a link for future content?

A: It is possible to be fully unlocked. I put that in as a community spading project. I know a lot of people are here for cracking open puzzle box, figuratively or literally and that one was very much one that was designed for everyone to take a swing at and see what you can figure out as a community, or keep it to yourself and lord it over everyone, that's fine too. Wanted to put something out there that was equipped to handle a lot of people going after it, and giving pretty clear feedback when you hit different stages in the progression. So there are some things like we were talking about, like the second ghoul quest and the black sketchbook, you might be three quarters of the way to something and not have any feedback, but when you're designing a puzzle for a group, you don't want that to happen. So when you have a lot of people going after it and giving better clues, the puzzle should be appropriately challenging. One of the harder puzzles in the game. Not surprised if we were sitting in 2030, and people are like, what ever happened to that datareader?

Q: If it hasn't been answered yet - general update on the state of the game / life?

A: The game - needs to have more frequent updates. To the extent that I need to take responsibility for the stuff that my brain does, there's a line between being a lazy butt and depression. There's a couple half-finished things I can work on in the next couple weeks if I'm stuck in self-quarantine. Restaurants closed to dine in. It's kind of nonsense here with coronavirus.

I do still entirely plan to continue on with Metroplexity, it's not like the long break has been me giving up on things. Combination of winter sucking and financial downwards spiral. Contract work with Nintendo for the last month and a half, which has been helping but we'll see what happens with coronavirus.

Q: What upcoming content are you most looking forward to?

A: I've got three balls in the air; side quest with Andrea, which is mostly done, well, let's say half done. Needs connective tissue, probably the next thing to come out. There's an unearthly item, I've been meaning to push out; the art's really cool. I was casting about for a mechanical hook that I think I figured out. Slightly longer term, the yakuza sidequest, introducing players to them, get the other side of Zaibatsu and laying the rest of the groundwork for the Downtown quest, going into actual Midgard Headquarters.

Q: What upcoming content are you dreading?

A: I'm a little bit dreading what I was talking about changing the seasons to months. Pretty finicky coding.

Q: What's a "ganger"?

A: Pretty much a colloquialism of gang member. [gang talk]

Q: Very early podcast questions were concerned with a Walk with the Blind side quest that wasn't implemented. Did that turn into the punk uprising on the quad, or is there another plan for that book?

A: No, the Blind Legion still has an open hook. I have some art from back then ready. The Punk Rising is related, might have ended up using some art since there's a lot of Fire Techniques overlap with the Blind Legion.

Q: Is there anything special with the encounter where you look down on the quad from the hall of sculptures? It doesn't seem to change when the protest (or Christmas) is going on.

A: I should probably have alternate versions of that. Possible there's supposed to be alternate versions of that, I'm just missing.

Q: Dusty questions: You said that the dusty clipboard has a very canonical place in Metroplex, which will become clearer in time. Have we seen that place yet?

A: Only in the most malicious compliance version of seen. There's people you'll hopefully get to meet that are related to it, who are very relevant to what's going on.

Q: In the wispy hospital pants, if you give the beggar old coins, you get the Boon of Protection which is described as "You brightened someone's day with the artifacts of a war". Is there a connection between the Orbital Wars and old coins or something significant there?

A: There's more than one way to get that buff. That said, the old coins, they're pre-Orbital Wars currency. So they carry that scent of nationalism with them. I mean that without a lot of judgement obviously the story of the orbital wars is a system with mixed etheical issues being replaced by another system with probably even worse ethical systems. Implication is that it's pre-war coinage issued by nation states. Also how you get old coins, is deeply tied to conflict in the game's content, in the narrative that the mechanics tell. I'm pretty sure there's an alternate way to get the boon which ties into the orbital wars more directly, at least there was in the original design, it's possible I cut it out when I was finishing development.

Q: What's the significance of the Sorceress wearing a stethoscope?

A: So the dusty items are interrelated to each other, and addition to the base level of narrative, there's a what I don't want to call a meta-narrative, there's also bits intentionally there to reflect the common threads and origins.

Q: Heya Kinak! Looks like I'm also joining you in living in interesting times, with a coronavirus 'containment zone' only about 20 minutes away from me.

A: Yeah, it has been a pretty interesting couple of months. Watching the news, has played out like the montage at the start of every zombie movie. Things have gone pretty sour.

Q: How are we doing with working out the secrets of the raider mask? As a one coin item, it feels like there's probably a decent chance we've shaken out most of it.

A: I think that hmm. I think that is probably it. Let me take a quick look. Hehehe, that was me chuckling about a couple things that you definitely already know in one form or another. Yeah, I think you've got that pretty well covered. Possible I've also forgotten something too. I'm going to check one more place too which is a sneaky place I'd hide sneaky things… looks like you've got things pretty well under control. I didn't want to discourage anyone from poking at stuff if there were still things hiding out.

Q: When it comes to browsing Shared Files while hacking, would you be willing to confirm whether or not there are any download results which require more than the minimum level of View functions needed for a standard success?

A: Looks like pretty much once you get into the results, there's quite a bit of random chance, also some tricker unlocks obviously, but I don't see anything that requires additional View. Might go back and add something someday, no promises.

Q: The winged ice was a neat surprise this past Christmas, and the setup looks like it's got room for future expansion and more ice sculptures. Do you expect we'll be seeing other options there in the future?

A: Yeah, absolutely, that's the plan going forward. More ice and more snowmen and more ice.

Q: And on the subject of Christmas… any chance of a new hint on snow snakes? They can't hide from us forever!

A: I remember looking at it this Christmas. There's sort of a point where it's like, "hey snowsnakes", and it's not immediately obvious what to do with them. I think it was unlocked near the end so people didn't have a lot to play around with them. Requires a different approach, a different hunting technique so to speak, than the rest of the snow goons.

Q: How disastrous would it be for a tabletop RPG group in Metroplex U to get mixed up with Eclipse? Or perhaps even worse, some LARPers?

A: Really depends on the group. You don't get to see a ton of it. If a group gets to bring a lot of positive energy. A lot of groups I've run into would probably have a lot darker creation, so many larps are about the supernatural backfighting and betrayal. Gothy vampire larps would be in trouble.

Near future, working on the quests I was talking about, unearthly item, and we'll see how the collapse of modern civilization plays into that. Thanks.

Q: If I may, one quick follow-up question: you said in the podcast that we need to use a very specific item from outside the Charnel House to start digging up the terrifyingly buried thing. Is this an item that we know about already, or do we still have yet to discover it?

A: The item's been known for quite a long time.

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