And now, we bring you every episode of Popular Space Show:
I read somewhere that there exists something called the “Buttered Toast Matrix” device where starships flip a piece of buttered toast to see which side hits the floor to determine which direction is up or down. Must’ve been one of my many tech manuals, I’m sure.
And now, we bring you every episode of Popular Space Show:
I find this strangely compelling to watch. The original animations came from this TikTok user, and this is a compilation that improved the lip sync somewhat:
I’m for more cartoons from the late 90’s/early 2000’s to be set to pop hits. See to it, internet!
Sharp-eyed viewers will note I truncated the last few seconds, as that contained a wee bit o’ salty lingo that some might not want young eyes to see just yet. Though given the cold weather, they’re probably already thinking stuff like that.
I haven’t been able to put many hours into the mega-mod, Fallout: The Frontier, and if you haven’t found a way to get it yet, you’ll have to wait, possibly forever. Their site has only an announcement regarding a bit of what’s at play and its sub-pages are 404’s. The mod itself has been hidden on the Nexus. In addition, there’s a few items of content in the actual mod that have raised a few eyebrows involving slavery and something I’ll call “speed dating” with a Deathclaw.
Myself, I never reached these parts of the mod, as it took a lot of tweaking and experimenting to get it to actually run. Even with the limited time I spent with the main NCR quest and a few sidequests, I could tell that this mod was… well, a mod. That isn’t to say that a ton of work didn’t go into it or they didn’t pull off some amazing stuff with an old and notoriously buggy engine. It’s just that the seams really show in places. Also, I could see some spots where they had an idea for what they wanted to happen and went for something that the game really couldn’t deliver on.
Comparisons to the Call of Duty franchise are fair for the first parts of the mod, which I did play through. You have the option of skipping some cutscenes, which is probably for the best. There’s a reason why the other Fallout games relied on slideshows, terminal entries, or only a few lines of dialog to set the stage. One part of these scenes is the battle for the Helios One power plant in the Mojave, which is there to explain why the NCR folk are in The Frontier, away from the desert. Ironically, they’re deserters, because General Oliver rescinded his promise that the conscripted men under one General Blackthorn could go home after taking Helios One. You’re reliving the memories of a soldier who was there, so you don’t get to have much agency, and you’re asked to end the lives of several wounded soldiers because there’s not enough medical supplies to save them.
Put a pin in that bit about medicine, as it irks me later on.
So anyway, you join up for a “tour” with the NCR for 2,000 caps. They know who you are, as you’re the “legendary Courier 6.” I couldn’t decide if this was a meta thing or was a breaking of the 4th wall where it appears that some of the NPC’s realize that you’re the protagonist and therefore you’re running the show. You meet a few soldiers, especially their special ops team called “The Wolfpack.” They’re the ones that you get to know even better right after you get captured by the Legion on your first mission. Your character is tortured for information regarding whatever the NCR is cooking up here in the ruins of Portland, which you don’t have, so you end up on a cross.
Cut to the Wolfpack who are sent out to save you. You get to play as Hardcase, the leader. It’s not difficult to do as you have regenerating health and four unkillable comrades to help. You can die, but you just reload from your last save or checkpoint. Finally, you reach the Courier (your character), free them, and then have to escort them to a landing zone where you’re picked up by Vertibirds. Sadly, on the way back, the Wolfpack’s vehicle is shot down and the Legion descends on the wreckage. Playing as Hardcase, you shoot at as many Legionnaires as you can, but this is a “supposed to lose” fight, and eventually, you’re overwhelmed and Legate Valarius (head of the Frontier Legion) gives you a final farewell before you’re riddled with bullets.
I will note that their portrayal of my character was completely wrong, as the second “I” was released from the cross, “I” immediately didn’t loot the nearby corpses for weapons, armor, ammo, and things I could sell. It totally wrecked my immersion, I’m telling you.
So then it’s off to the infirmary with you, where blood and other supplies are taken from dying soldiers being operated on to save your life. Again, put a pin in this, as it now really bugged me. I suppose this was all to drive home how important you are and kind of make you feel like you owe it to the NCR and General Blackthorn for sacrificing so many soldiers and vehicles to get you back. You’re shown what the NCR is fighting to protect, which is basically a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, unfinished since the Great War and hidden under the airport. And that’s about as far as I got before reading about the problematic things that have cropped up since release.
I hope it gets retooled and a Steam release, because for all its flaws, it’s still got some interesting parts to it. That said, it does have a few issues that stood out, apart from the controversial stuff:
• So much walking. Not just in terms of long hikes from place to place on the map (yes, the Mojave had some of that, too) but in-engine scenes where you’re supposed to follow someone while they monologue at you. This dialog is unskippable, and both it and the stroll you’re on just keeps going and going.
• The Gamebryo engine is a temperamental beast most of the time, and I’m sure some of the setpieces pushed it beyond its design limits. If you do play it, look up the console commands for no-clipping as there were several times I spawned in a new scene on the wrong side of a wall and had to find a way “in” to the playable area.
• The Gamebryo engine is really bad at conversations between NPC’s. I suspect that how the game is run relies on a series of triggers, flags, and other moving bits that go off when certain conditions are met. From my perspective, I think whatever that sets them off can be affected by lag or other bits of the game having to catch up to what’s going on, which means that if two NPCs are talking, there’s a gap between the end of one character’s dialog and the start of the other’s. This is really weird to see when one sentence is supposed to cut off another, sounding instead like one actor in our stage play just ran out of script and the other one hasn’t heard their cue yet. It’s a small thing, but several scenes relied on what I’m sure were supposed to be snappy replies, taking all the air out of whatever was being said.
• This is a mod made of mods. As the more issues have come to light, the writing has shown itself to be kind of a tarball, added to by trying to make everything kind of work together. There didn’t appear to be a core story or direction for The Frontier, so everything was just kind of stitched together and main quests often ended with explosions out of nowhere or didn’t flow together smoothly from a narrative perspective. That said, the sidequest areas were decent enough and many would’ve fit right in most other Fallout games.
I put two pins in stuff having to do with death and dying in Fallout. and it’s not exactly the fault of this game that it stood out. However, they shouldn’t have drawn attention to it: When you can take a nuke to the face and recover by downing a few healing items, it’s hard to be believably dramatic about the fragility of life in a video game. I hoovered up enough stimpaks to save everyone in the med bay before I’d gotten jumped by the Legion, so they’re not exactly rare, and they fix everything from crippled limbs to being one hit point away from death. I know plot-driven injury and incapacitation are a staple in games, but the addition of me needing health items that meant others would die in a military medical facility came off as too convenient, at least to me.
It’s like how in fantasy games, important people dying is shown to be a really big deal when you’ve got enough healing spells and other items that should, in theory, be able to bring anyone to a level of health that’s so robust they could probably succeed at their own fetch quests. But we’re not allowed to use them, because if we did, that’d probably wreck the plot. The trick is to hide this well enough that it doesn’t become the obvious solution to everything, especially royal succession or other leadership positions prone to assassination.
Anyway, I never reached the areas where it’s said are things beyond the pale, even for Fallout, so I can’t directly comment on those. I read that the mod was being retooled to address these concerns, but given the state of their website and the fact that the lead dev has quit, I have no idea what the future holds for it. I had put the game on hold in the hopes for a less crash-prone version, but that might never come, either. Earlier today, one of the devs did a Q&A on Twitter, so I’m linking it here for further reading.
Anyway, if you want a total conversion mod for a Bethesda game that’s been very well received, I’ll plug yet again for Enderall: Forgotten Stories… if you can get it to run. 🙂
YouTuber Bill McClintock has discovered a rather amusing melding of Metallica and Huey Lewis & the News:
I think this one is vying for my favorite of his offerings against this Kool & the Gang duet with Quiet Riot.
A freakin’ heeyuuuge mod for Fallout New Vegas dropped over the weekend, called The Frontier. Here’s a little trailer:
Drivable vehicles! New power armor! Yao guai polar bears! And… they recommend starting with a new character. If you can get the game running first.
I loves me some New Vegas, and while I didn’t have the massive bugs that others reported when the game first came out, things have often gotten worse for players as time has passed. Bethesda’s Gamebryo engine is about as stable as an unpatched copy of Cyberpunk 2077 being run on a Nintendo Wii that’s been set on fire. This is often due to players adding an enormous library of mods coupled with running the game on technology that is to the poor 1’s and 0’s what a copy of Word is to users of cuneiform tablets.
If you’re not comfortable with using the NexusMods site and its Vortex mod-wrangling software, you might want to wait for the Steam version of the mod to come out. I’ve no idea when that’ll be, just “when it’s approved.” Even then, there’s no guarantee it’ll be headache-free. I had to poke at Vortex quite a bit and I still had issues with the game stuttering and losing half of its functionality sometimes when I’d get past a loading screen.
As all of the ancient saves I had were characters that were walking gods with armor and weapons that relied upon a plethora of mods, I think I have to start over if I want to play this new expansion. I know there are quick-start mods that will put me over the level I need to be for The Frontier to trigger, but where’s the fun in that?
A note: If you get it working, you’ll be able to tell it’s loaded thanks to a new loading screen, some new sound effects when you get optional quest objectives, and a new loading graphic: Instead of a roulette wheel, it’s the spinning chambers and muzzle of a revolver. Once you have that sorted, you have to be level 12 and have spent 12 in-game hours in the game (which can be done by just pressing the “wait” key and letting 12 hours go by in 12 seconds). You’re given the quest to visit the Frontier, and that’s about all I’ve seen thus far, so I can’t really spoil anything. I believe based on metrics like map area, weapons, quests, etc. it falls somewhere in between Fallout 3 and New Vegas for size and scope so be prepared to spend some time with this new game space.
As usual, I’m sure the people of the Mojave (and surrounding DLC lands) will be fine with your character leaving the fight over Hoover Dam and what-not for (probably) months to go trek off to Portland. It’s not like anyone else is going to show up to move things along, right? 🙂
I went thrifting recently and happened upon an artifact of such overwhelming nerdy nostalgia that I knew I had to possess it the moment I saw its cover:
It’s the soundtrack to the Carl Sagan era of Cosmos on vinyl! I’ve told my wife that if anyone loves me this Christmas, I’ll get one of those record album frames under the tree. The interior is pure 70’s layout and NASA porn:
Sadly, the record is a little warped, but I suppose I could fix that with some time and weighty texts. Even so, I can listen to its contents via the magic of YouTubery:
Ahhh, Vangelis. Such a huge part of my Sunday evenings watching PBS as a kid. My soundtrack from that age was this, the intro music to the Tom Baker era of Doctor Who, and right before the station signed off, a segment of Jack Horkheimer: Star Hustler. Ol’ Jack was like a used car salesman teaching astronomy; I just couldn’t look away for some reason.
Anyway, ’twas a cool thing I found that I hope to have on my wall soon. Maybe someday I’ll bump into Neil DeGrasse Tyson and he can autograph it.
In case you’ve never seen it, the following bit o’ frivolity is based on Marlon Webb’s “When You Go Out With Your Best Mates” video. Once you’ve seen that, this next bit should make sense.
There! I know I feel better.
Just vote. I mean, at the very worst, one can think that by doing so they’re sticking it to someone they don’t care for. It’s not the healthiest reason, but hey, perhaps it’s enough to get the nation engaged again. I’ll be headed to the polls with the family sometime tomorrow morning. I suspect they may try to vote me out of the house, but hopefully that’s not on the ballot.
Did I mention we all need to vote? Vote!
And there’s this:
• Just when I thought I couldn’t think Tom Lehrer was any more amazing, he’s releasing his songs into the public domain. Now, so far there’s none of his performances or mp3s or anything like that, just the sheet music and lyrics. But if you want to re-record “The Old Dope Peddler” (something 2-Chainz had to ask permission to do a while back) and can produce decent musical output, go nuts!
• Perhaps this shows that A.I. is more worried about humans than we thought, as a computer-driven camera covering a futbol match in Scotland decides to target a bald ref’s head rather than the ball.
• If you don’t quite recall every hit song of 1990, this mashup should refresh your memory.
• It’s rumored that Oscar Isaac is in talks to become Marvel Comics’ Moon Knight for a Disney Plus TV series. I like the direction they’ve taken the character in the comics, as someone who’s probably only behind Deadpool for being considered out of his mind. My only question about these shows is if they’re integrating other bits of the MCU or trying to make it stand-alone.
• In the Mandalorian series, we were introduced to a couple of speeder bike troopers who were a lot more self-aware than most of their fellows, noticing they couldn’t hit anything with their blasters. The Auralnauts took that idea and ran with it, giving us the Existential Troopers.
• Like a few thrift-store artists, one “Dave” at Arrowhead Vintage & Handmade Goods makes stale generic paintings into more nerd-worthy images. I like how it’s not all Star Wars, especially when classic away teams from the USS Enterprise show up in a landscape.
• And finally, if you don’t mind a little tension (and something that was more appropriate for Halloween), here’s Horror Poster Nightmare. You have a limited amount of time to find six differences in eight sets of horror movie posters or the dynamite some madman is dangling between the images will go off. So I guess it’s from an upcoming Saw sequel?
Here’s a gameplay trailer for a hopefully-someday overhaul mod for Fallout 4 that lets you play Fallout New Vegas in F4’s game engine:
Also, since Microsoft now owns Bethesda Softworks as well as ineXile, that means they now run the two biggest post-apocalyptic role-playing game franchises, Fallout as well as Wasteland.
So I’m wondering how long until the Wasteland franchise becomes a West Coast prequel to the Fallout series? I mean, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing done to the lore, right?
In the spirit of when whoever your favorite ‘Trek captain is goes rogue, bends the regs, or (in the case of the Picard series), tells the Federation to go warp core breach itself, we’ve got a design perfect for commanding your unaffiliated starship in. Drawing from the classic “No Gods, No Masters” slogan and the anarchy symbol from countless punk rock posters, we’ve got a delta shield for an increasingly chaotic frontier.
It’s just the thing for when you decide that giving phasers to cavemen would be pretty fun to watch and making crop circles on planets that haven’t discovered warp drive yet is a great means of creative expression. And until October 5th, you can use code AWILLIAMS20 to get 20% off of any of the shirts I’ve designed! So if you’re not ready to thumb your nose at the Admiralty, we’ve probably got something else that’ll round out your wardrobe.
You could even wear it under your uniform, and they probably wouldn’t know… unless there’s some kind of really disturbing scanning technology I didn’t know Starfleet used. Maybe check to make sure it won’t show up in the transporter pattern buffer first.
Note: Management is not responsible for any demotions or loss of command, though if that does happen, you’ve got your outfit ready, right?