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loobkoob loobkoob
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Gamers aged 55+ account for almost a third of gamers now, and that share is on the rise.
  • And to prove your point even further: my friends and I went go-karting for someone's stag do a couple of weeks ago and it was £50 per person for two fifteen-minute sessions. And that's even more entry level than autocross, I'd argue!

    We had to get there early, too, and get registered, get changed into overalls and helmet, etc. We had to go through an idiot-proof safety briefing. We had to wait for the previous group to finish their session. We had a break between our two sessions for drinks and to cool down / recover, and another session ran during that time, so ~twenty minutes there. All in all, our half-hour of driving probably came with around an hour and a half of downtime, which I think lowers the value proposition even more.

    (Plus I got heatstroke during it and got increasingly ill as the day went on - and was unable to really eat during our restaurant meal or drink at the bars later in the day - which lowered the value proposition even more for me, ha!)

    £100/hour of actual go-karting, versus £1/hour for most AAA games these days. I don't tend to like AAA games that much, for the most part, but even with all their bloat, recycled content, open-world downtime, etc, they still seem like better value per money per time than anything motorsports-related.

  • I never noticed it was him in X-Men: Apocalypse
  • Tom Cruise is an odd one for me. The idea I have of Tom Cruise is that he always plays the same character, is just a generic action star, etc. And then whenever I actually watch Tom Cruise in a film, I'm always really impressed by just how good an actor he is. But I still can't shake the idea I have of Tom Cruise.

    I have a similar issue with Brad Pitt, where my idea of him is that he's just a generic leading man, despite him almost always putting in a really strong, nuanced and varied performance.

  • A beginner's guide to nationalism
  • And similarly, from Tool's "Right In Two":

    Monkey killing monkey killing monkey over
    pieces of the ground
    Silly monkeys
    Give them thumbs, they make a club
    to beat their brother down
    How they've survived so misguided is a mystery
    Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability
    to lift an eye to heaven, conscious of his fleeting time here

  • A beginner's guide to nationalism
  • And telling all the poor people how much of a sin their envy and greed is, of course!

  • George Lucas Says Ideas in the Original “Sort of Got Lost” in Post-Disney ‘Star Wars’ Films (Gee, you think?)
  • I don't hate the idea of midichlorians, honestly. Or rather, I do hate them but I think that's the point - to show that the jedi have kind of lost their way, are judging everything by "midichlorian counts" and tried to standardise and automate the process as much as possible rather than properly considering the human element and doing things on a case-by-case basis. If it's not the point then, well... it should be.

    I think there are some decent ideas in the prequel trilogy, I just think the execution was pretty bad.

  • Google promised a better search experience — now it’s telling us to put glue on our pizza
  • Yep. LLMs are great for bouncing ideas off, and for getting "soft answers", but no-one should ever be looking for factual answers from them.

  • ‘Change’: Starmer hopes simple slogan will chime with exasperated nation
  • To be honest, I think your position is short-sighted, naïve and lacking in pragmatism.

    Right now, in most constituencies, your choice is between Labour/Lib Dem and Tory/Reform. And anyone who thinks Labour getting into government wouldn't be an improvement over the Tories hasn't been paying attention for the last decade. Even if Labour had the exact same political stance as the Tories - which they don't - the fact that they're not nearly as likely to be corrupt, self-serving slime balls makes them an improvement by itself.

    Labour needs to appeal to moderate, swing voters. There's no steadfast left-wing voter base in the UK; if Labour can't win over the swing voters they won't get elected - it's that simple. That doesn't mean they're sat there asking themselves how they can be more like the Tories, it just means they need to take positions that have broad appeal and don't just go full-socialism. As much as socialism appeals to me, I'd rather see Labour actually get elected. There's zero chance we go from our current government to a socialist government overnight.

    And if I think about where I'd like to see our country in ten or fifteen years, Labour winning this election is the most realistic way for us to get there. Spoiling your ballot, not voting at all, or voting for some candidate who's going to get <3% of the vote isn't going to achieve anything other than a short-lived sense of self-satisfaction. The best thing any of us can do is to pick the least bad of the realistic options. I don't like that that's the system, but it's the system we've got and we either have to work within it or have it imposed on us anyway.

    I don't think the Labour Party is perfect by any means. They have some ideas I like, and I'm hopeful they'll unveil more policies I like in the next few weeks. And, of course, there are things I dislike about them. They're certainly not my dream party. But I also think it's important not to let perfect be the enemy of good. We have a chance to improve things, and squandering that chance just because things aren't going to be perfect is fucking stupid.

  • Fallout Series (Why don’t I like it?)
  • The big difference between the two for me is how much feeling of gameplay expression there is. In Fallout, my options feel like melee, shooting enemies with shotguns, shooting enemies with automatic rifles, shooting enemies with long-range rifles, shooting enemies with lasers, shooting enemies with miniguns, and so on. And the shooting mechanics don't feel strong enough to really differentiate those different weapons as different playstyles for the most part. If I play a game like Titanfall, Battlefield, etc, then changing weapons can feel drastically different - they handle differently, you navigate combat arenas differently, you prioritise targets differently, you use cover differently. But that doesn't really feel like the case with Fallout for me without any of the moment-to-moment decision making that tends to allow for gameplay expression in shooters.

    Whereas Skyrim feels like there are a lot more playstyles available. Destruction magic feels very different to conjuration which feels very different to illusion which feels very different to being a stealth archer which feels very different to using a dagger which feels very different to using a huge, two-handed melee weapon. They're not just visually different; how you approach and navigate combat encounters will be significantly different depending on what kind of build you have. It just feels like there's so much more gameplay depth.

  • Government tells Britons to stockpile as part of emergency planning
  • I believe the thinking is that three days is (hopefully) enough time for whatever issues to be resolved, or for you to look for other sources of supplies. You're not expected to stockpile enough to live on for months!

  • Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs admits he beat ex-girlfriend Cassie: ‘I take full responsibility’
  • I've been separating Chris Brown's music from his personality for a long time. I hated his music long before I know how terrible his personality is.

  • PC gaming getting worse every year
  • I don't disagree, but gaming laptops are always overpriced. You're paying a premium for the small form factor. (And I assume they also have the much less powerful RTX 4070 Mobile, which makes the value proposition even worse for laptops.)

  • The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
  • Let me know what you think when you've listened!

  • The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
  • Their song "Shut Up And Let Me Go" was fairly successful, too, so they weren't quite a one-hit wonder.

    I actually quite enjoy their 2018 album "The Black Light", even if it wasn't that well received. It's kind of a stripped back indie dance record, and it's fine. But they did an alternate version called the "Manchester Version" that had a much more raw, indie rock sound to it that I dig. It's no masterpiece by any means, but it's something I'm happy to put on every now and then.

  • Marjorie Taylor Greene pushes wild conspiracy theory about Slovakia PM’s shooting: ‘No wonder they shot him’
  • Unfortunately for her, too. She might be successful, but she seems fucking miserable all the time.

  • Now that google is going all in on ai what are some sites you plan on bookmarking.
  • I wouldn't recommend ChatGPT for factual information at all (at least, not without validating for yourself afterwards), but I think it's quite good for helping you mull over or develop ideas, and for finding "soft answers" to things.

    I used it recently to suggest a font to use, for instance, and found it much, much better than trying to use a search engine. My font knowledge isn't particularly high at all - I know what serif means but that's about it as far as technical knowledge, and I wouldn't recognise or categorise most fonts - but I was able to describe what I wanted to ChatGPT and narrow it down:

    • "I want something more friendly than that"
    • "less professional"
    • "more wonky"
    • "less rounded"
    • "less uncomfortable"

    And so on. I could be somewhat abstract with my requests and it still mostly seemed to understand what I meant. Eventually it suggested something that fit my requirements pretty well. Trying to find a similar suggestion via a search engine would have been very difficult, I think, and would basically have just relied on me stumbling on a "top 10 fonts for X" listicle that happened to cover my requirements.

    ChatGPT is fantastic within its specific niche (assuming you know how to feed it prompts properly and how to interpret its outputs - it's a tool thats usefulness very much depends on the operator) but I definitely wouldn't want it to replace search engines.

  • How Chinese AI turned a Ukrainian YouTuber into a Russian
  • I agree, I had the same thought. And not only is she very pretty, she's also "believably pretty"; she doesn't look like a movie star or an unrealistically attractive Instagram model, she looks like someone you could see walking down the street. She'd catch your eye, of course, and probably be the prettiest person you saw that day, but it's not like some pictures/videos I've seen of people where I've thought "I've never seen someone look that attractive in real life" and there's a bit of a disconnect because of it.

    Using Olga's likeness, I suspect a lot of people can be fooled into thinking she's just a regular person who happens to be at the upper end of the attractiveness scale rather than a paid model, and I'm sure they very intentionally decided to steal her likeness for that reason.

  • Don't worry, I'm sure you'll be privileged and safe
  • I think @rayyy is right, unfortunately. If the West severs ties with Israel overnight (and suddenly stopping arms shipments would essentially be the same thing as severing ties), it'll just create a power vacuum where Russia or China will cosy up to Israel instead. Israel has a lot of influence in the region - partially because it's been propped up by US support, of course - and other countries would absolutely try to prop up Israel and capitalise on their influence in the US' place if they had the opportunity. Which would perhaps slow down the genocide for a little while, but it would inevitably pick back up, but this time without the US/West having any influence at all.

    Not to mention the fact that the US losing its influence over Israel would almost certainly destabilise the region. Iran would be emboldened, as you alluded to. Hamas would be emboldened, and while I take the side of the Palestinian people in this whole ordeal, I don't think Hamas being emboldened would be a good idea - it would likely lead to further conflict and even worse suffering for the Palestinian people. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey would all likely try to expand their influences, too.

    Biden is trying to slowly reel Israel in while still maintaining US influence there. Partially because the US just wants to keep its power, of course, but also because it's perhaps the best way to have some control over the genocide and over the region rather than just being an observer. I don't like all the blood on our collective hands but I think that, at this point, the genocide would continue without us.

    I absolutely think the fact that Israel has been put in the position it's in represents decades of shortsightedness and foreign policy failure, though. Israel should never have been in the position to do this.

  • Megalopolis Teaser Trailer (2024)
  • I feel like no amount of trailers or reviews are going to give me an idea of what to expect from this film, and it feels like I'll probably not know what I think about it until several days after the credits have rolled.

    I'm not convinced it will be a good film, but it absolutely seems like a must-see for me.

  • Eurovision loses almost a quarter of UK viewers compared with 2023
  • I saw an article on the Torygraph titled something like "I voted for Israel in Eurovision to spite the woke", and there were people in the comments talking about how they'd sent in 20 votes for Israel. And others talking about how "the left" are relentless bullies for making the Israeli singer cry, etc.

    I'm wouldn't be surprised if Israel did try to influence the votes, but I think there are plenty of right-wingers willing do do it for free, too.

  • [IJustWatched] Blade Runner 2049. What do you think about it?
  • Of course, take your time! I think Blade Runner 2049 is such a deep and complex film that you have to let all the ideas percolate anyway.

  • Did you know that before the release of the film Alien (1979) starring Sigourney Weaver...

    ...people had to weave their own sigourneys by hand?

    5 Top Tory MP defects to Labour in fury at NHS crisis

    Ex-health minister Dan Poulter who also works as a hospital doctor, says Conservatives have become ‘nationalist party of the right’

    Top Tory MP defects to Labour in fury at NHS crisis
    True Gaming loobkoob

    Does extensive post-release support - particularly for live-service games - lead to unrealistic expectations and disappointing realities in a game's sequels?

    It's a common issue at this point: a game releases, gets years' worth of updates and DLCs, and then eventually the developers move on to developing a sequel. The sequel comes out and... the depth and amount of content is nowhere close to what players have just been experiencing in its predecessor. The sequel may have many of the quality-of-life features that didn't arrive in the predecessor until later updates, but it simply can't launch with a full game's worth of content plus years of DLC's worth of content. It only gets worse for games that support modded content, too, because they'll have years' worth of mods on top of the developer-created content.

    We've seen this a lot already: the Civilization series is infamous for the sequels not living up to their predecessors until they've had years of support themselves; Crusader Kings 3 was seen as lacking in long-term replayability for passionate fans of the series; Destiny 2, upon release, was seen as shallow and sparse compared to the first game; and, recently, Cities: Skylines 2 developers spent the lead-up to the game's release trying to reel in expectations because they didn't want fans to expect the game to have comparable amounts of content to everything that's available for the first game after eight years of post-release updates and DLC.

    To compound this, many of the games that benefit from extensive post-release support are less story-focused games. They often offer a mechanical foundation and a sandbox wherein players can create their own experiences, stories and lore - Civilization has no plot, nor does Cities: Skylines or Crusader Kings. They're similar, in fact, to tabletop RPGs - like Dungeons & Dragons - in that sense. And they share another issue with tabletop RPGs: sequels sometimes just aren't necessary. When there's a new story to tell in an existing world, or for an existing character, it obviously makes sense to make a sequel and tell that story. But if the game is more of a mechanical foundation that's already sound? Well, major overhauls to that foundation are a reason to make a sequel, but sometimes it can just feel like "reinventing the wheel" for the sake of releasing a sequel, not because it's necessary or because it improves anything.

    It feels to me like a problem that will only become more and more pronounced as more games opt for live-service models or extended post-release support, too. Can anyone think of any examples of games that had extensive post-release support through updates and DLCs where a sequel was then released that wasn't seen as disappointing or a step backwards?

    True Gaming loobkoob

    The double-edged sword of survival game mechanics

    I'm sure we've all played at least one survival game at this point, right? Minecraft. Valheim. Subnautica. Project Zomboid. ARK: Survival Evolved. Don't Starve. The list goes on.

    So what makes something a "survival game"? Well, surviving, of course! The player will often have limited resources - food, water, stamina, oxygen - that will drain over time. They will have to secure more of these resources to survive by venturing out into the (often hostile) world, while also collecting other resources in order to progress.

    Survive and progress are the two key objectives here. What progressing looks like can vary from game to game. Some are sandbox games where you set your own objectives. Some have technology trees to work through. Some have stories. All of them have some kind of balance between surviving and progressing. Too much focus on moment-to-moment survival and you'll never feel like you're getting anywhere; too much focus on progression and the survival mechanics feel sidelined.

    I'll start with the latter. Minecraft is a perfect example of this, I think. For the first hour or so in a brand new world, surviving will be something the player has to focus on at (almost) all times. Food will feel scarce, enemies will feel scary and you really have to focus solely on survival. But then, after a while, you'll reach a point where you're got plenty of food and don't have to worry about it any more. You'll have decent armour and weapons so fighting monsters isn't risky at all. The survival aspect of the game becomes something you only really engage with when you're forced to - because your hunger bar is empty, because a monster is attacking you and you want it to go away - but it's more of a tedium than a system that's exciting or interesting to engage with. In fact, the more you progress (whatever your version of "progressing" is - building cool things, exploring, etc), the less engaging the survival aspect of the game generally is.

    And on the flip side, you have something like Don't Starve. The game is all about survival, with the goal largely being simply to survive as long as possible, with very little in the way of non-survival progression. To its critics, this is to its detriment; the player rarely feels like they're making much progress, just prolonging their suffering. This is, of course, the tone the game is going for, but it doesn't make for engaging gameplay for many people. It doesn't have something they can get invested in - there's no reason to survive.

    I've largely been talking about the negative aspects of survival mechanics so far, but I do feel they can have positive, interesting aspects to them as well. They can add to a game's immersion, for one. They can certainly make for great, personalised stories, too; not tailored narratives, but the sort of individual, one-off experience in a sandbox game that you remember. For example, you didn't just build a simple house...

    You went on a dangerous journey into the forest to the west to get some wood. You'd just finished chopping the last tree you needed when a wolf pounced on you. Lucky you'd found that old, manky leather armour earlier, eh? You managed to kill it (with your bare hands after your spear broke) but you were losing blood and had to limp back to base with your lumber. You didn't have any medicine so you fashioned some from some plant fibre you'd collected - not ideal but it stemmed the bleeding for now. And at least you had enough wood to get some walls up around your cabin.

    That's the kind of story made out of mundane events (well, "mundane" when it comes to video games anyway...) that you can only experience in survival games. Because in a game where you're not as invested in surviving, that sort of situation has far less impact. This leads nicely to my next point: there needs to be a cost to not surviving. The steeper the cost, the more invested in survival the player will be:

    • the ultimate "cost" is a hardcore world/character, where the player loses all their progress if they die. I personally find this a little excessive, especially in games that are often already on the grindy side.
    • a lesser cost is perhaps losing some XP, or losing all the items your character was carrying at the time. It's a great motivation to avoid death, but it isn't too punishing. It's nothing you can't bounce back from, at least.
    • an interesting mention here is games like Rimworld or State Of Decay 2. You control a community of characters, each one having different stats and attributes. If a character dies, their death is permanent. It sucks, and it's almost always a major setback for your colony. But it also makes you really value each character's survival. And a character dying becomes part of your story in the game. It's woven into both the gameplay - you have to figure out how to adapt going forward without that colony member - and the history of the colony.

    If there's no real cost to not surviving, there's no real reason to engage with the survival mechanics in the first place. None of it matters. If you can die, but 30 seconds later you've reloaded the game and can just carry on from where you were, can you really get that invested in the survival mechanics in the first place?

    So what's the right balance? It's hard to say - it depends on the game! How deep and complex a game's survival mechanics are and what its progression looks like definitely affect what will feel right. But I think that, if a game is going to include survival mechanics, there should be an effort to make them interesting and rewarding (if not fun) throughout the entire game. If they can't be interesting and rewarding, players shouldn't be made to engage with the mechanics at all, and it should just be a problem that players can solve instead. And there needs to be more to the game than just surviving. There needs to be goals available - narrative, creative or otherwise - that give the player a reason to survive.

    The process of surviving itself needs to feel interesting throughout the duration of the game. You need a reason to survive (something to work towards) and you need a reason to not die (some form of cost or punishment).

    So do any games actually manage all this? I'm not sure... Subnautica probably comes the closest for me, personally. It does a great job of constantly pushing you to progress, but the more you progress, the more scary things get and the harsher the conditions you need to survive become. The survival mechanics are not just relevant but central throughout the entire game, but you rarely feel like they take too much focus away from the rest of the game.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts!