TPG Cast Episode 1: The Beginning

Adam Ames and Phil Cordaro kick off Episode 1 of our internet talk show, TPG Cast.  You will learn about how both of them got into PC gaming, thoughts on PC demos and their take on poorly optimized PC controls.  Also, Adam talks a little bit about the site and gives a big thanks to all TPG fans.  Give us a listen by downloading here via DropBox.  Keep in mind, this is our first show so please post your thoughts in the comments section to provide feedback.  EDIT: You can also listen to our cast on YouTube.

Filesize: 60MB

Format: MP3 128kbps/16hz

Length: 66 Minutes

27 thoughts on “TPG Cast Episode 1: The Beginning

  1. Man, you guys made me feel either really old or really nerdy after hearing when you started PC gaming. When I was a kid my mother worked for Xerox, the company believed that PCs would become essential work tools in the future and they wanted every employee to become familiar and comfortable using them. So she was given a Xerox 820 to take home and keep. This thing had a really huge monitor with a fairly small screen, I think the CPU was in the monitor though, and had a seperate disk drive the same size as the monitor for the 8″ floppy discs it used. On one disc we had a pure text based Zork clone adventure game called Adventure. This was my first PC game. I credit it with helping me in school as the text was not written at a 1st grade level and my reading scores were always very high.

    As to demos, I kinda liked the way the demo was handled for Mount & Blade. It was the full game so you could go anywhere in the game and do anything you wanted, but once your character hit level 7 the game stopped and said the demo was over. If you bought the game then you got an activation code to input at the time of installation, if you had the demo first then you could input the activation code when you hit level 7 and keep playing with your same demo character. I had that demo in mind when I read a piece from Bethesda stating that they don’t do demos because the types of games they make don’t demo well. I used the modding tool for Fallout 3 to see if I could create a “demo mod” using that same concept. Lock the player at level 5 add in a few perma-locked doors to key areas and it could be a solid demo. If little old me could do it while trying to figure out how to use the GECK then I don’t see why the real developers couldn’t have done something similar.

    What’s wrong with using the arrow keys? I use the arrow keys for all my games, I find it easier to find the right key in the dark by having them separated in that unique shape than when trying to use WASD. I also have remap all my function keys to Ctrl, Shift, Backspace, that Home, End, Page Up/Down block and the number pad. Again they are easily identifiable based on touch rather than sight or muscle memory. But thats just me.

    Also, Chicago Dogs.

    • In our interview with John Mamis, he also mentioned The Witcher as being a game that would not be a very good demo. Interesting how much power modding tools have and the fact that Bethesda encourages modding. So many high profile devs become very territorial when you talk about modding their games. I can see why, but it would seem to me that if you can extend the life of your game by allowing others to add their stamp within reason, why not go with the flow?

      Nothing wrong with the arrows keys. I was using theme before KOTOR came out. I think I got side-tracked on some other issues and that was going to be my point. The game did not support arrow keys for movement so I had to use WSAD which I found out was easier to play. For least me anyway.

      Never been to Chicago, but I hear they will hang you in the event ketchup is put on a dog which is what I use in some cases. I think I will keep in the safety of Utah. 🙂

      Just for the record, I am 36.

      • I actually did try the demo for The Witcher as I had heard a lot of good things about it but also that it could be buggy. I hated the demo and gave the game a pass. I wasn’t until earlier this year that someone on GOG told me that the demo was just really terrible and that the full game is much better. I bought the game then and, while a few of the issues I had were still there, I have overall enjoyed the game.

        I think KOTOR is the reason I first got a gamepad for my computer. Why on earth would you make a PC game where you can’t remap the controls? I seem to remember having some issue even with the game pad though. In fact I’m not sure I ever actually finished KOTOR. I may have to dig that back out again.

        You don’t have to go to Chicago, you just have to find a place that makes Chicago style hot dogs, I don’t know where in Utah that would be though. Me, I keep all the ingredients on hand so I can make them myself, mustard, relish, tomatoes, pickles, celery salt, hot peppers…

        Well I guess I’m just nerdy then because I don’t hit 36 for a few more weeks.

      • Sorry. I meant to say The Witcher 2. Demos can indeed stifle sales, but I feel the consumer needs something in order to make a purchase decision. The interview we did with Ichiro Lambe on Reckless Disregard For Gravity was interesting. He bluntly said the demo was terrible and might have cost him a few sales.

        I am not sure if movement could not be re-mapped at all or if it was a case where the arrow keys were not mappable. Anyway, KOTOR is on my personal Top 10. A fantastic story with memorable characters.

        As for the dogs, usually I only top with shredded cheddar cheese. Casper’s Hot Dogs in Oakland are the best, but I grew up there so I am probably a bit biased. Nothing in Utah comes close.

        Happy Early Birthday! 😀

  2. Oh man I totally forgot about the whole thing with stubbornly refusing to use the WASD keys. I forget what game finally got me to convert, but for the longest time I also tried using arrow keys for movement, mapping all other actions to right control, right shift, enter, the num pad, delete, end, etc. Of course, as games started to get more and more complex and introduce more and more elements, this became pretty much completely impossible to manage. How am I supposed to lean left and right??? YOU’RE KILLING ME, ARROW KEYS!

    Anyway – To everyone else, thanks for the related stories about the show, they’re really interesting and I hope we can contribute to cool little discussions and comments like this in our topics for future shows.

    Also I don’t care if I’m from Chicago it’s chili cheese dogs or nothing! All that other stuff is gross.

    • ADDENDUM – Did not realize they were from the same poster so thanks to Steven and future thanks to future posters (except Adam) ((he is the worst))

    • I new a guy who decided not to even bother with the keyboard, he used a 5-button mouse in his right hand and a 6-axis flight controller joystick (the kind that have 24+ buttons/triggers and the HAT stick and look like they came out of an F-18) in the right. It was confusing just watching him play, but he was dangerous in some Unreal Tournament.

      Well do you at least use Chicago style chili for your chili dogs?

      Would you consider a trading system where you could send me hot dogs and I’ll send you some Rocky Mountain Oysters?

      (That will teach Adam about going off topic in his podcasts)

      • Wait just a minute, my friend. I said if the listeners wanted to read about my dinner last night, they should not follow our Twitter feed. Phil then decided to twist my arm by asking what I had for dinner which I was forced to reveal.

        Phil is not the good little boy he may appear to be on our show.

        Also, Lamb Fries > Rocky Mountain Oysters. Well, not really, just wanted to address this one. 😉

      • Don’t listen to him! Lies, all of it lies!

        Okay fine, I admit it. If it were entirely up to me we’d probably just be talking about chili recipes and Stallone movies the entire time.

        Also, I didn’t even know Chicago style chili was a thing and had to look it up! I make my own Chili though and you can rest assured it is pretty damn good. I do not like oysters so you are going to have to do better than that if you want to organize a trade.

      • Well there aren’t actually oysters in Rocky Mountain Oysters, but considering what is in them… yeah you’re better off not making that trade.

        Many years ago I was working in Nashville TN and on a friday night some guys were talking about going to get some chili from a little diner they knew of and asked if I wanted to go with them. I turns out the diner was just outside Chicago and while it was good chili I would have liked a little more information before agreeing to go. Maybe it’s just me but if you are going to invite someone to something banal like “going out to eat”, “going to the store” or “going to pick something up” then it is your responsibility to disclose if the trip requires crossing state lines, taking an airplane or meeting a group of Columbians in international waters.

  3. Hey guys – listened to the cast last night and after a bit of an understandably slow start it was very entertaining, and you two do feed off each other really well (and I don’t mean that as a pun after all the talk about food).

    I got in to PC gaming in about 1996. I had a PSX (mainly for Tomb Raider) but I got my first PC to play Civ 2 as it wasn’t on a console and I loved Civ 1 on the Atari. After that I’ve never played on a console since. It all started when I got my first computer – a Dragon 32 when I was about 10 in the VERY early 80s, then also a Spectrum 48K, then in the late 80s I had an Atari STFM, followed by an Atari STE I upgraded to 1MB. Oh, those heady days of raw computing power !

    After Civ 2, a friend of mine showed me Quake 2 – that was it. I was hooked, and from the moment I played that game for the first time, it could only be mouse and keyboard for shooters. Like Steven S, I do however also know someone in my old Unreal Tournament clan who played with mouse & joystick. He was damn good too, so maybe there’s something in it ?! I do have a gamepad but only used it for some old racing games and FFVII. Modern racing games I have to have a wheel for !

    Some interesting topics covered and it was a good listen. I think some of the topics covered hit a nerve with the majority of PC gamers – Terrible ports that are abysmally “optimised” like GTA IV and Saints Row 2 (I have ranted about that POS too many times, so I’ll say no more) and mind-bogglingly awful control schemes & interfaces. The thing is, no matter what a dev says, we all know damn well that the PC port was an afterthought – no sane PC gamer would EVER use arrow keys to control a game menu or have keys that can’t be remapped. Maybe one day they will finally wake up and realise we know very well they are talking crap, the ports are crap, the interface is crap and we just want M&K. It’s not like we are asking for much in exchange for our money is it ?

    Anyway, looking forward to future casts and hearing what topics you cover with other guests.


    • Thanks for listening, Russell. Things will get better and more streamlined as we move along in the process.

      What type of wheel do you use? I have always been interested in getting a wheel for racing games because I really enjoy the genre. I remember playing NASCAR Racing Season 2003 with the keyboard until I got a cheapo gamepad.

      I just once want a dev to admit they screwed over their PC port. Just one.

      • I have a Logitech Driving Force EX. It’s not the greatest wheel in the world, but for the money it’s a pretty good deal. It’s labelled as a PS2 wheel but as it has USB, Windows spots it straight away. I still install the Logitech drivers as I prefer their calibration tools. It has force feedback, which is a necessity. Having not tried any other mid-high end wheels I can’t say if their FF is any better/stronger, however combined with a 27″ screen a few feet in front of me, and surround sound within a few feet of each ear, the FF on my wheel gives a pretty good feel of immersion – for me anyway.

      • Thanks. I will write down the model for future reference. I think as much as I enjoy racers, a wheel would be a good investment.

      • I’m not actually sure they make that wheel any more (Logitech seem to be focusing more on the more expensive models now) but if you find something with FF & decent reviews then I’d recommend doing so. Once you’ve raced with a wheel it really does make the difference. My wheel was about £30 so about $45ish

      • I only have a few driving games on PC, most of mine are PS1/PS2 so this looks like a good option for me to replace my last wheel that the dog broke. I like the force feedback on this wheel, but I really like having the stick shift on the wheel. On the other hand I dislike having to spend more on a game contoller than I do on groceries. Craigslist and Amazon seem to have good selections but a steering wheel is kinda something you want to try out first.

    • But you forgot to tell us your favorite kind of hot dog!

      I often wonder how it would be if a company designed a game for M&K controls and then did a lazy port over to console, how would that work out. I knew a kid who used to play Halo 2 competitively, as in entering tournaments and taking home prize money. I tried to get him to play on the PC but he confessed that he found the PC shooters too hard to control. In his defense though he did have his controls setup quite horribly. He had the up and down arrows set to forward and backwards movement and the left/right arrows turned you left or right, he had no keys mapped to strafing. When I tried remapping left and right to strafe he protested “But now I won’t be able to turn!” Both mouse buttons were set to Primary Fire because when navigating in Windows he found it too cumbersome to double click on anything, so he had the LMB set to click and the RMB set to double-click. So maybe the reason game developers optimize controls for a gamepad is that console players need more help while PC players can be more resourceful?


        I can actually think of a few rare cases where it worked the other way around, like with a few of the earlier ports of RTS games to consoles. I remember for instance Warcraft 2 had a PlayStation port that controlled pretty wonky compared to the intuitiveness of just playing with a mouse. But at least in cases like that you can see they are just dealing with the tools they have available, and trying to make it work the best they can. When you turn it around the other way and you have a shooter developed for consoles and lazily ported to PC, it’s more a clear case of them just not caring enough to have anything set properly. It’s really frustrating and I worry that it’s becoming more commonplace rather than less, especially with the huge developers focusing most of their attention on the consoles.

      • Trying to play Lemmings on the SNES was bad enough, I can’t even fathom trying a PC RTS with a gamepad. Although there was an Aliens vs Predator RTS made exclusively for the PS2 and the controls were designed with that controller in mind, and being the SciFi geek that I am I had to get it. It was awkward to play but not mind numbingly complicated, considering what they were trying to achieve it was about the best that could be expected. I just hope we don’t start getting direct ports for XBox Kinect games.

        Oh, side note: I did some searching around and found that Lucas Arts did release a patch for KOTOR that allowed you to remap the movement controls to the arrow keys, along with adding a Walk key so that you don’t have to run everywhere you go. So it may not matter as much to the WASDers out there but I think this means I can finally play KOTOR!
        If I can find it.
        I lost some of my games during my last move and I’m starting to think KOTOR may have been one of them. On the bright side I’m pretty sure I can find someplace to get another copy without too much hassle, unlike trying to replace my copies Omikron and Project IGI.

      • Sorry Steven, but hot dogs aren’t that big in the UK. Have you ever seen Crocodile Dundee, where Mick first arrives in New York and gets given a hot dog (“You can live on it, but it tastes like sh*t !”). Must be a cultural thing because that’s the general British consensus of hot dogs. I think it’s down to frankfurters used in hot dogs – they just don’t have any meat texture which makes me wonder what meat they use in them. Now, if it was a proper sausage, with fried onions & brown sauce, then that’s a different matter 😉

      • I lived in the UK for a few years and yeah hot dogs are definitely not as big there – I would imagine because on the whole they are just pretty nasty there comparatively. I mean, it’s not like hot dogs are this major delicacy or anything, but a lot of the ones you see on sale in stores in the UK are served in jars or cans with some kind of brine and they have this weird squishy texture and are just super gross.

        But hey, at least you guys have a lot of pretty great curry which is cool.

      • Hot dogs in a can isn’t that odd, remember those Vienna Sausages everyone eats as a kid but not really ever again once they grow up? Imagine if everytime you went to a baseball game you got one of those instead of a proper ballpark frank, now you can start to understand why our friends across the pond don’t understand our love of the hot dog. It is also a similar factor in why they don’t understand steak and the backyard BBQ. On the other hand a lot of folks think Americans have poor taste based on what passes for Bratwurst, Frankfurters and Andouille here.

      • I guess. When I think of hot dogs in a can, I do not think about Vienna Sausages although I can see where you are coming from. I am also told by some British friends our chocolate, especially Hershey’s is rather gross. I prefer Ghirardelli or Cadbury, myself. True story: the founder of Ghirardelli lived in the same apartment building when I was growing up in Oakland. My Dad was the Maintenance Supervisor. Every Christmas, Mr. Ghirardelli gave my Dad a 5 pound box of assorted chocolates. Good stuff.

        Man… you are making me hungry. I love Johnsonville Brats so much.

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